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Title: Rustic Sounds - and Other Studies in Literature and Natural History
Author: Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925
Language: English
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                              RUSTIC SOUNDS

                                AND OTHER
                        STUDIES IN LITERATURE AND
                             NATURAL HISTORY

                                * * * * *

                            SIR FRANCIS DARWIN

                                * * * * *

                            With Illustrations

                                * * * * *

                    JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.


         I  Rustic Sounds                                      1
        II  Francis Galton                                    13
       III  The Movement of Plants                            36
        IV  A Lane in the Cotswolds                           55
         V  Jane Austen                                       61
        VI  The Education of a Man of Science                 78
       VII  The Pipe and Tabor                                97
      VIII  Stephen Hales                                    115
        IX  Nullius in Verba                                 140
         X  Sir George Darwin                                152
        XI  War Music                                        195
       XII  The Teaching of Science                          201
      XIII  Picturesque Experiments                          210
       XIV  Dogs and Dog Lovers                              219
     Plate  Pipe and Tabor                           to face 102

                                 F. H. D.


Sounds are to me more reminiscent than sights; they bring back the
sensations of childhood, and indeed all memories of my past life, in a
way more touching and clear than what is seen.  Wendell Holmes claims the
sense of smell as most closely associated with memory; for me, as I say,
it is that of hearing.

In this paper I shall wander in imagination through the different seasons
in the home of my youth, and let the recalled rustic sounds lead where
they will.

To children there is something impressive and almost sacred in the
changes of the seasons, in the onset of winter, or the clear approach of
spring.  The first of these changes was heralded for me by the appearance
of puddles frozen to a shining white; mysterious because the frost had
drunk them dry in roofing them with ice, and especially delightful in the
sharp crackling sound they gave when trodden on.  This was the noise of
the beginning of winter.  Another winter memory is the humming whistle of
the boys’ feet as they slid on the village pond, a remembrance that
recalls my envious admiration of their heavily nailed boots, giving them
an advantage in pace and a more noble style of sliding.

Another familiar sound was the wicked groaning crack that ran round the
solitary pond on which we skated, as it unwillingly settled down to bear
us on its surface.  It had a threat in it, and reminded us how helpless
we were, that the pond-spirit was our master and had our lives in its

Another winter note was the hooting of invisible owls, boldly calling to
each other from one moonlit tree to another.  In the spring there was the
querulous sound of the lambs, staggering half fledged in the cold fields
among the half-eaten turnips beside their dirty yellow mothers.  Not the
sheep of the Dresden shepherdess, but rather of the old man in _As You
Like It_, who warns Rosalind that shepherding has its ugly side.  Yet it
had something prophetic of more genial days.

[Picture: Whistle: Fig. 1] As the sap began to rise in the trees my
thoughts lightly turned to the making of whistles.  I was taught the
mystery by a labourer in my father’s employ and never departed from his
method.  The first thing was to cut a branch of some likely tree, a
horse-chestnut for choice, severing it by an oblique cut, removing a ring
of bark R and notching it at N.  The bark had then to be removed in one
piece so as to make the tube of the whistle.  The first thing was to suck
the bark and thoroughly wet it—a process I now believe to have been
entirely useless.  The bark was next hammered all over with the haft of
the knife, which was held by the blade.  Then when the inner layer of the
bark was well bruised, it could be removed in one piece.  To effect this
I was taught to hold it in my handkerchief, and after a twist or two, a
delicious yielding was experienced and the bark slipped off.  The shiny
white stick which remained in the other hand had to be cut in half,
shaved in a particular way and again fitted into its bark tube.  Then
came the exciting moment,—would the thing whistle?  The joy was short
lived, and the whistles soon dried and shrank and ceased to satisfy the
artist.  But it was always possible to make a new one.

Since the above description was written, there has appeared in _The
Times_ Literary Supplement (February 22, 1917, p. 90) a notice of the
poems of a Canadian writer {3} from which the reviewer quotes the
following beautiful lines:

    “So in the shadow by the nimble flood,
     He made her whistles of the willow wood,
     Flutes of one note with mellow slender tone;
     (A robin piping in the dark alone).
     Lively the pleasure was the wand to bruise,
     And notch the light rod for its lyric use,
     Until the stem gave up its slender sheath,
     And showed the white and glistening wood beneath.
     And when the ground was covered with light chips,
     Grey leaves and green, and twigs and tender slips,” . . .

This could only have been written by one perfectly familiar with the art
of whistle-making.  But it seems to have been misunderstood by the
reviewer, who says that he “once came upon one of these small Æolian
harps in a wooded isle in the ‘Land of Afternoon,’” . . . and decided
“that it was a work of superstition by Indian hands.”  As an Æolian harp
is a stringed instrument sounded by the wind, and a whistle belongs to
the very distinct class of musical things sounded by human breath, I can
only suppose that the reviewer has misunderstood the poem.

I cannot leave the Canadian poet without a reference to the beautiful
line, (“A robin piping in the dark alone.”)  A Canadian robin must surely
make a song like ours, who seems also to sing in parenthesis.

The other form of rustic pipe that pleased me was a sort of oboe made
from a dandelion stalk by squeezing it at one end.  It had a rough nasal
note, which could be controlled by holes cut in the stalk and stopped
with the fingers.  This again was but brief satisfaction, for the two
halves of the reed soon curled outwards and ceased to speak.  In later
life this curling outwards was made use of in my work in the physiology
of plants.  I like to remember that my primeval oboe gave me the idea.

The village boys made ‘musics’ by fixing strips of laurel leaf into a
split stick, and blowing violently into them, which set the leaf
vibrating and made a coarse scream, but this instrument we despised, and
I think rightly, for it had none of the pleasant tone of the whistle, nor
was there any art in the making of it.

A primeval musical instrument called the ‘Whit horn’ I have seen in the
possession of the late Mr. Taphouse, of Oxford.  It is a conical tube of
bark held together with thorns and sounded by means of a rough oboe-reed
made of bark; there were no finger-holes, and is said to have yielded a
harsh shriek on one note.  It was, I think, played on May 1st, or else at
Whitsuntide.  It is to Mr. Taphouse that I owe my introduction to the
pipe and tabor which form the subject of a paper in this volume.  The
pipe is shrill in its upper register, but this is no great fault in an
instrument meant to be played out of doors: the same fault is to be found
with the flageolet, and the penny whistle.  But the last named instrument
is reminiscent of a man playing outside a London public-house, and we
know from the story of the perfidious Sergeant in _The Wrong Box_ to what
lengths it may lead us. {5}

The most truly rustic instrument (and here I mean an instrument of polite
life—an orchestral instrument) is undoubtedly the oboe.  The bassoon runs
it hard, but has a touch of comedy and a stronger flavour of necromancy,
while the oboe is quite good and simple in nature and is excessively in
earnest; it seems to have in it the ghost of a sunburnt boy playing to
himself under a tree, in a ragged shirt unbuttoned at the throat, a boy
created by Velasquez.  To hear an oboe actually played as a rustic
instrument one must go to Brittany, where it accompanies the national
bagpipe or ‘biniou.’  To a reed-instrument player it was painful to see
the oboist bite a bit off his reed when the tone was not to his liking!

From this digression, originating in the whistle cut from a
horse-chestnut bough, I return to some less artificial sounds.  I must
say a word about the song of birds, but my knowledge of the subject is
but small.  The most obvious of spring-time sounds is the voice of the
cuckoo.  I confess to liking the muttering chuckle which, in an
unscientific mood, I have supposed to mean that an egg has successfully
been laid in a hedge-sparrow’s nest.  But the cuckoo’s “word in a minor
third” is always delightful.  The bird is neither more nor less of a
foreigner than a willow-wren, yet he has, in comparison to the wren’s
subdued chromatic warble, a song so self-assertive, and a tone so unlike
our other birds, that one feels him an obvious exotic, a foreigner of so
glorious and dashing a nature that one is grateful to him for singing
among flat ploughed lands and monotonous hedges.  I fancy the Welsh
proverb, “Who would have thought the cuckoo would sing on the turf-heaps
of the mountains,” is a poetic reflexion of this thought.

Of the nightingale I have nothing to say, except to put on record a true
remark of Sir Charles Stanford’s, viz., that he sings in a syncopated
rhythm.  But, though I lived in a nightingale land, it is another bird
that most clearly brings back to me the country of my boyhood, I mean the
night-jar.  He has something of antique mystery which I do not find in
the nightingale, as he purrs on his only note through the warm night.
There is something unknown and primæval and vaguely threatening in his
relentless simplicity.  Can it be that I inherit from a stone-age
ancestor both the fear and love of the bull-roarer?

Another bird that moves one in a very different way is the robin, of whom
it is hard to say whether he has more of tears or smiles in his
recitative.  In comparison to the night-jar he seems like a civilised
human soul who has quite modern sorrows, and has half forgotten them in
quiet contentment with the autumn sunshine.  The blackbird has a tinge of
the robin’s sentiment, but it is over-borne by the glory of his song as a
whole, which is pure gold, like his beak.

The chaffinch is not an interesting person, and he is so numerous that
one soon becomes weary of him and his song.  Let us hope that he
expresses his real nature in the building of his pretty nest rather than
in song.  This must, I think, often happen, and to take an example from
human builders, it is not inconceivable that the architect of St. John’s
College Chapel, Cambridge, may have sung delightfully.  But there are
limits to one’s faith, and personally I cannot imagine the desecrator of
Pembroke College in the same injured town of Cambridge practising any art
in a way that would please me.

To return to birds—the greenfinch is a pleasant singer, or perhaps a
conversationalist.  I am never tired of hearing him repeat the word
“Squeese” as he sits hidden in the heavy shade of the summer elms.  His
twinkling bell-note with its contented simplicity is also attractive.
His cousin, the bunting, makes remarks not unlike those of the
greenfinch; and he appears to address them by preference to the
travellers on dusty high roads, where he passes much of his time sitting
on telegraph wires.  The anchorite yellow-hammer persistently declining
cheese with his bread is always pleasant.  Professor Newton used to say
that the spring begins with the yellow-hammer’s song.  According to
Blomefield’s _Calendar _{8} the average date in Cambridgeshire is
February 16, but he has been known to sing on January 30—rather a wintry
beginning for spring.  I have never made up my mind as to what the
kitty-wren says or sings.  He is always in a desperate hurry to get
through his piece, as if he were afraid of lagging behind the beat of
some invisible conductor.  In consequence of this there is a want of
restraint, and a style that suggests a shy child gabbling a show bit of
poetry.  But I repent these words for I love the kitty-wren.

There are a multitude of other bird-sounds which are pleasant to hear as
their turn comes round, for instance, the complaint of the wryneck, the
“cuckoo’s mate,” who seems to me to be querulously expressing his dislike
to my garden, which he tries year after year and deserts after a day or

I have never heard that contented bird the quail, who should be a
wholesome lesson to all wrynecks.  I should like to hear him as Schubert
has him:

    “Sitzend im Grünen
    Mit Halmen umhüllt,”

and singing “Lobe Gott” all day in the rhythm with which the oboe praises
God in the Pastoral Symphony.

Another bird, whom I take for a contented fellow, is the green
woodpecker, for he goes through life laughing, but I am not quite sure
that I should like his taste in jokes.  He is always associated in my
mind with a passage in a letter of my father’s: “At last I fell fast
asleep on the grass, and awoke with a chorus of birds singing around me;
and squirrels running up the trees, and some woodpeckers laughing, and it
was as pleasant and rural a scene as ever I saw, and I did not care one
penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed.” {9}

There are many noises rather than notes which are most pleasant to hear.
The invisible industrious corncrake, whose persistent cry comes from
nowhere and everywhere at once.  The harsh warning of the jay who seems
to say “Man! man!” as he skulks off when his wood is invaded.  The rough
noise of the ox-eye sharpening his little saw, and many others.

Then I must not forget the noise of birds in flocks, ranging from the
familiar wrangle of sparrows noisily going to roost, to the mysterious
sound of great flights of birds migrating at night, one of the most
romantic of sounds, but to me untranslatable, since I do not know the
language of these wanderers.

I come now to human sounds.  It was exciting to wake at 5 o’clock some
morning in June, and to learn by the sound of scythes being whetted that
the mowers had arrived, and that the hay harvest had actually begun.  The
field had been a great sea of tall grasses, pink with sorrel and white
with dog-daisies, a sacred sea into which we might not enter.  But now we
could at least follow the mowers, and watch the growth of the tracks made
by their shifting feet, and listen to the swish of the scythes as the
swathes of fallen grass and flowers also grew in length.  There was
something military in their rhythm, and something relentless and
machine-like in their persistence.  But our admiration was mixed with
pity from the time that one of them told us that after the first day’s
mowing he was too tired to sleep.  In later years another sound was
associated with haymaking, when in an Alpine meadow the group of resting
peasants were heard hammering the blades of their little pre-Raphaelite
scythes to flatten the dents made by stones hidden among the grass.

A well-remembered sound that came near the end of the harvest was the cry
of “Stand fast!” which was heard at intervals warning the man in the
cart, whose duty it was to arrange the pitched-up hay, that a move was to
be made.  Why it was necessary to shout the warning so that it could be
heard a quarter of a mile away I cannot say.  But its impressive effect
depended on its loud chant-like tone.  This sound is connected with
recollections of riding in the empty hay-cart, from the sea-green stack
mysteriously growing in the corner of the field back to where hay waited
to be carted.  The inside of the hay-cart was enchantingly polished, and
also full of hay-seed, which had a charm for me.  The hay-making at Down
was a leisurely affair, with many women gossiping as they gently turned
the hay.  There was, however, one man of whom we children were much
afraid, a fierce red-eyed old labourer who acted as foreman, and did not
hesitate to show that he thought us out of place in a hay-field.

One sound there was peculiar to Down,—I mean the sound of drawing water.
In that dry chalky country we depended for drinking-water on a deep well
from which it came up cold and pure in buckets.  These were raised by a
wire rope wound on a spindle turned by a heavy fly-wheel, and it was the
monotonous song of the turning wheel that became so familiar to us.  The
well-house, gloomily placed among laurel bushes, had a sort of terrifying
attraction for us, and I remember dropping pebbles and waiting—it seemed
ages—for them to fall into the water below.  We believed the well to be
365 feet deep, also that this was the height of the dome of St. Paul’s—I
have never tested the truth of either statement.  The opening was roofed
in by a pair of hinged flaps, or doors, and I especially liked the moment
when the rising bucket crashed into the doors from below, throwing them
open with a brutal and roystering air, which one forgave it as having
made a long and dangerous journey up from the distant water.  But the
best was when the empty bucket went down, and the fly-wheel spun round
till its spokes were invisible.  Then was the time to remember the death
of a dog (called Dick) who was killed by jumping through the flying
wheel.  I envied my elder brothers who could actually remember Dick: to
me he was only a tragic myth.  I imagine that in hot dry weather more
water was drawn, or else that being more constantly out of doors we heard
more of it.  It is at least certain that the sound of the well came to be
associated with peaceful days and happy weather in that dear garden.

Another sound I like to recall is connected with the memory of my father.
He daily took a certain number of turns round a little wood planted by
himself, and christened the Sandwalk.  As he paced round it he struck his
heavy iron-shod walking-stick against the ground, and its rhythmical
click became a familiar sound that spoke of his presence near us, and was
associated with his constant sympathy in our pursuits.  It is a sound
that seems to me to have lasted all those years that stretch from misty
childish days until his death.  I am sure that all his children loved
that sound.

                                                         _February_, 1912.


Francis Galton was born on February 16th, ninety-two years ago, and
to-day we are met together to remember him—a word that seems to me more
in tune with his nature than the more formal expression _commemorate_.

He disliked pomposity, but he seems to have loved little private
ceremonials.  For instance, when he opened the first notebook in
preparation for his autobiographical _Memories_, he began page I with
Falstaff’s words: “Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of
lying”—an inverted appeal to truth which no man ever stood less in need
of.  And again, at the foot of the very last page of his _Memories_ is a
drawing of _Galtonia candicans_, a little ceremony without words, a
hieroglyphic glorification of the honour paid him in giving his name to
this African plant.

Many persons, and even some reviewers, form their opinions of books by
reading half-a-dozen passages at random.  I have been more scientific in
selecting the first and last pages, and from these I conclude that a
simple and kindly commemoration is not out of harmony with the genius of
this great and loveable man.

I should like to express my appreciation of the honour done me in asking
me to give the first Galton lecture.  In many ways I am a bad choice,
since I have had no share in his science of eugenics, neither has my
research-work been directly connected with evolution.  I can only hope
that in consideration of my delight in the fibre and flavour of Galton’s
mind, with its youth, its charm of humour, and its ever-springing
originality and acuteness,—I say that I hope these considerations may
excuse me for having undertaken an office for which I am in so many ways

One of his most obvious characteristics was his love of method.  I do not
mean methodicalness, but that he took delight in knowing how to do all
manner of things in the very best way.  He also liked to teach his
methods to others.  Those who never saw him, or even read his books, will
exclaim, “What a bore he must have been.”  One might as well call the
lightning a bore for explaining that the thunder was coming, or complain
of the match for boring the gunpowder as to the proper way of exploding.
With Galton’s explanations there was a flash of clear words, a delightful
smile or gesture, which seemed to say: “That’s all—don’t let me take up
your time.”  Nobody was ever more decidedly the very antithesis of a bore
than Francis Galton.

He first appeared on the literary and scientific stage as a traveller,
geographer, and author of a book on South Africa (1853), and it was the
experience there gained that enabled him to write two years later, in
1855, that wonderful book, _The Art of Travel_.  There he teaches such
vitally important things as how to find water, how to train oxen as pack
animals, to pitch a tent, to build a fire, to cook, and a thousand other

He liked, of course, to be useful to weary and thirsty travellers, but he
was as much, or more, impelled by the love of method for its own sake.
He was in fact an artist in method.  The same thing is shown in a letter
he wrote to Nature near the end of his life, explaining how to cut a cake
on scientific principles so that it shall not become stale.  This again
was not so much a philanthropic desire that his fellow men should not
have dry cake, as delight in method.

When I re-read _The Art of Travel_ quite recently, I could not find his
method of preventing a donkey braying.  My recollection is that,
observing a braying donkey with tail erect, he argued that if the tail
were forcibly kept down, as by tying a stone to it, the braying would not
occur.  I certainly believe myself to have read or heard that this most
Galtonian plan succeeded.

Later in life he tried to make his unique knowledge of value to his
country.  He writes: {15}

“The outbreak of the Crimean War showed the helplessness of our soldiers
in the most elementary matters of camp-life.  Believing that something
could be done by myself towards removing this extraordinary and culpable
ignorance, I offered to give lectures on the subject, gratuitously, at
the then newly-founded camp at Aldershot.”

He received no answer from the War Office, but a personal application to
Lord Palmerston led to his being installed.  He speaks of a few officers
attending his course, and adds that the “rude teachings of the Crimean
War soon superseded” his own.

In relation to what I have been speaking of, I must here be allowed to
turn back to an earlier period of his life.  In illustrating the
different dispositions of his sisters, both of whom were dear to him,
Galton writes:

“My eldest sister was just, my youngest merciful.  When my bread was
buttered for me as a child, the former picked out the butter that filled
the big holes, the latter did not.  Consequently I respected the former,
and loved the latter.”

Have we not here an early appreciation of method, or must we merely class
the memory with the scene in “Great Expectations,” where the terrifying
elder sister, Mrs. Joe, prepares bread and butter for her husband and for
Pip (her little brother) in an eminently just and disagreeable manner.
May I be allowed to add that a love of butter in the big holes is not
hereditary in all branches of the family; I should have loved the sister
who picked it out.

At a later stage in his boyhood Galton transferred his study of method
from his sisters to his schoolmasters.  He describes what he suffered
from the absurd limitations (which still exist) in the education of
English boys, and chafed at the teaching he received.  “Grammar,” he
says, “and the dry rudiments of Latin and Greek were abhorrent to me, for
there seemed so little sense in them.”  He suffered in fact like his
cousin, Charles Darwin, who groaned over the classics at Shrewsbury
School, and forgot what he learned, even to some of the Greek letters, by
the time he was nineteen.

In 1838, when Galton was sixteen years of age, he became an indoor pupil
at the Birmingham General Hospital.  Here the education was at any rate
practical enough, and to this coddled generation it sounds a rough
introduction to medicine.  He had to prepare tinctures, extracts,
decoctions, and learned to make pills by hand—a slow enough process.  In
later life, when he saw a pill-making machine at work, it must have been
his boyish memories which inspired the characteristic calculation that if
a grandmotherly Government possessed forty-five of these engines, it
could supply each inhabitant of the British Isles with one pill per diem.

It was in the surgery that he had most experience; he and the other
indoor pupils were called up at all hours to dress burns, to patch broken
heads, and reduce dislocations, with, as it seems, very little
instruction.  It was doubtless a fine bit of education in self-reliance,
and he must have learned much that was of use in his South African
travels.  Whether as a student of method he approved of his rough and
ready education is not quite clear.  His genius for experiment, or rather
that priceless capacity for extracting unexpected conclusions from
experience, comes out in his account of a case in the Birmingham
Hospital.  An injured drayman was brought in dead drunk, and underwent
amputation of the legs without any signs of feeling pain.  This set
Galton wondering whether patients might not with advantage be made drunk
before operations—a query which was to be happily answered by the
discovery of anæsthetics.

Another characteristic event was his attempt to learn the properties of
all the drugs in the pharmacopœia by personal experience.  He determined
to dose himself alphabetically, but got no further than C., for the
effects of croton oil put a stop to his thirst for first-hand knowledge.

We must pass over his time at King’s College, London, where, as he sat at
lecture, he could see the “sails of the lighters moving in sunshine on
the Thames,” a vision which stirred his blood with a longing for
adventure, and which, as he characteristically noticed, always occurred
when the weather-cock on the Horse Guards showed that the south-west wind
was blowing.

We must, in like manner, skip his undergraduate days at Trinity,
Cambridge.  We thus arrive by a devious route at the period when he
returned a traveller and geographer of recognized merit, and began the
work with which he was practically connected for many years, as a member
of the Meteorological Committee.  His best-known contribution in the
science was in a paper read before the Royal Society in 1862, where his
discovery of the anticyclone was first described; but he also had a good
deal to do with the printing and publishing of the now familiar weather
charts.  Meteorology takes us from 1861 to 1863, that is nearly to 1865,
when his first paper on heredity appeared, which was at the same time his
first paper on hereditary genius.  This line of research was to form his
chief claim to celebrity and must be separately treated.

Meanwhile I wish to say something of his love of experiment, which is a
branch of his devotion to method.  We know something of the more
entertaining of his inquiries from his delightful book of _Memories_, yet
I cannot but fear that he has left out many experiments even stranger
than those he publishes.  My father had a special affection for what in
his own case he called “Fool’s experiments.”  These are what, I am
afraid, Galton may have omitted.  Still there are records of some
delightful lines of work.  He is probably the only man who ever attempted
to solve by experiment the problem of free will and determinism.  He
limited his inquiry to the question—whether there exists in human affairs
such a thing as an “uncaused and creative action.”  The experiment, or
rather self-observation, was carried on (1879) for six weeks, almost
continuously, and “off and on for many subsequent months.”  He found that
with practice he could nearly always trace the “straightforward
causation” of a given action, which at first seemed to have been
performed “through a creative act, or by inspiration.”

Then there was his attempt to experience the feelings of the insane.
“The method tried was to invest everything I met, whether human, animal,
or inanimate, with the imaginary attributes of a spy.”  The trial was
only too successful; by the time he had walked 1½ miles to the cab-stand
at the east end of the Green Park “every horse in the stand seemed
watching” him, “either with pricked ears, or disguising its espionage.”
He adds that hours passed before this uncanny sensation wore off.  On
another occasion he managed to create in his mind the feelings of a
savage for his idol, the idol in his own case being a picture of Mr.

These experiments seem to me very characteristic of the man in their
originality, their humour, and their unexpected measure of success, for
personally, I should have prophesied failure in all.  They have a special
bearing on Galton’s belief that a quasi-religious enthusiasm for eugenics
may be built up.  I have sometimes wondered that he should believe this
great change so feasible, but I understand how he came to think so when I
read of his strange power of impressing beliefs on himself, with such
force as to leave a trail of discomfort in the mind after the
make-believe had ceased.

These and similar trials were, I think, made in relation to his desire to
weigh and measure human faculty in a broad sense.  I remember his telling
me of his experiments on the mind of the British cabman.  His method was
to use alternately two different forms of the address to which he wished
to go.  Thus on Monday he would tell the man to drive him home to 42,
Rutland Gate, on Tuesday he would say, “Rutland Gate, 42,” and so on.  My
recollection is that the cabmen understood more quickly the familiar
formula in which the number precedes the name of the street.

There was also a characteristic experiment or inquiry into the intensity
of boredom in a lecture audience, by counting the number of fidgets per
man per minute.  In this case to avoid the open use of a watch, he
estimated time by the number of his own breaths, “of which there are
fifteen in a minute.”  I hope my brother {21} will forgive my adding that
he found the Royal Geographical Society meetings good hunting-ground for
fidgets, for as Francis Galton remarks, “Even there, dull memoirs are
occasionally read.”

Nor must I forget his plan of marking, by means of a hidden apparatus,
the beauty of the women he met in the streets of different towns.  He
classified them as pretty, ugly, and indifferent; in this beauty
competition London came out at the top; Aberdeen, I regret to say, was at
the bottom.

But in considering the measurement of human faculty we have got quite out
of any reasonably chronological sequence, for the book bearing that title
appeared in 1883.  But the estimation of human characteristics,
especially in relation to heredity, was in Galton’s mind several years
earlier, and in 1865 he wrote the two papers in _Macmillan’s Magazine_
which contain the germs of his later work on heredity and eugenics.  It
is unfortunate that the research on heredity, together with its practical
application to human welfare in the new science of eugenics, should not
have more space given to it in his autobiographical _Memories_; there are
but thirty-seven pages—or 11 per cent. of the whole book.  The specific
importance of the subjects here dealt with is so great that these
thirty-seven pages outweigh all the rest of the book.  We should like to
have had a fuller account by the author of this remarkable work of 1865.
He does, however, tell us—and it is a very striking statement—that the
two articles “expressed then, as clearly as I can do now, the leading
principles of Eugenics.”

The chief point in which he came to differ from the _Macmillan_ articles
was that he was then “too much disposed to think of marriage under some
regulation, and not enough of the effects of self-interest and of social
and religious sentiment.”  I imagine that the pendulum has now swung the
other way, and that one of the most hopeful and practical schemes is the
prevention of marriage among habitual criminals and the feeble-minded.

Galton attributes his work in heredity in some measure to the publication
of the _Origin of Species_, which, he says, “made a marked epoch” in his
“mental development, as it did in that of human thought generally.”

That Galton personally felt no difficulty in assimilating the new
doctrine, he characteristically ascribes to a “bent of mind that both its
illustrious author” and himself had “inherited from” their “common
grandfather, Dr. Erasmus Darwin.”  But in our day the name of Galton is
intimately connected in our minds with the science of heredity, and we
forget that he, like lesser men, was a mine fired by the _Origin_.  He
was “encouraged,” he says, “by the new views to pursue many inquiries
which had long interested” him “which clustered round the central topics
of heredity.”  This was the charge with which the mine had been
loaded—the _Origin_ was the fuse.

When that book was published in 1859, nearly everyone here to-night must
have been too young to know anything of the great change in the colour of
human thought which was ushered in.  There are more who may remember how
twelve years later, when the _Descent of Man_ came out, there was still
plenty of clerical and other forms of foolish bitterness.  But a man
needs to have been in the full swing of mental activity in 1859 to
perceive the greatness of the change due to the _Origin of Species_.

His two papers in _Macmillan’s Magazine_, 1865 (Vol. XII., pp. 157 and
318), seem to me very remarkable, and, as I have said, they are passed
over too lightly by the author in his _Memories_ (p. 310).  They contain
a statistical proof of the inheritance of intellectual and moral
qualities. {23}  And those who would allow the truth of this statement
must further agree that it is the first statistical demonstration of this
important fact that the world has seen.  And he insists that the whole
spiritual nature of man is heritable, so that in his opinion there are no
traces of that new element, “specially fashioned in Heaven,” which (he
says) is commonly believed to be given to a baby at its birth.

The paper contains a very interesting discussion on the development of
social virtues by natural selection.  He gives, too, a characteristic
explanation of that human attribute commonly known as Original Sin, the
quality, in fact, which makes men yield to base desires against and in
spite of their sense of what is right.  He says {24} that here “the
development of our nature under Darwin’s law of natural selection has not
yet overtaken the development of our religious civilisation.”  It may be
more briefly described as the conflict between the individual desires
with the tribal instincts.  It must be remembered that for all this
discussion Galton had no _Descent of Man_ to guide him.

I shall come back later to his clear and courageous statement of eugenics
in 1865.  Meanwhile I must speak of heredity, a word, by the way,
introduced by Galton, and for which he seems to have been taken to task.

With regard to the machinery of reproduction the essay is remarkable for
containing what is practically identical with Weismann’s continuity of
the germ-cell, and Galton’s priority is acknowledged by that author.  But
in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the
man to whom the idea first occurs.  Not the man who finds a grain of new
and precious quality, but to him who sows it, reaps it, grinds it and
feeds the world on it.  This is true of this very _Macmillan’s Magazine_
article.  Who would know of these admirable views on Hereditary Genius
and Eugenics, if this were Galton’s only utterance?  This is the grain
which has increased and multiplied: and it is to-day familiar nutriment,
and is now assiduously cultivated by the Eugenics Education Society.  But
if _Natural Inheritance_, and _Hereditary Genius_ had not been written;
if the papers on eugenics had not appeared, and especially if he had not
convinced the world of his seriousness by creating a eugenic foundation
at University College, where his friend Professor Karl Pearson carries on
the Galtonian traditions—why then the paper in _Macmillan_ would have
counted for very little.  But it was not quite unnoticed.  By my father
it is referred to in the _Variation of Animals and Plants under
Domestication_.  Galton was encouraged and reassured by Darwin’s
appreciation of his work: his words in _Hereditary Genius_ {25} are, “I
feel assured that, inasmuch as what I then wrote was sufficient to earn
the acceptance of Mr. Darwin . . . the increased amount of evidence
submitted in the present volume is not likely to be gainsaid.”  He was
characteristically generous in owning his debt to the author of the
_Origin of Species_, and characteristically modest in the value he
ascribed to my father’s words.

The book on Hereditary Genius strikes me as most impressive.  It seems as
though the man whom the world had agreed to honour as an admirable and
indeed a brilliant worker in geography and meteorology had suddenly grown
big.  He shows himself to have the power of sustaining a weighty argument
in strong and temperate phrase, speaking as judge rather than advocate,
and to have definitely taken rank with Darwin, Lyell, Hooker and Huxley,
men whose pens have dinted the world, leaving their ineffaceable mark on
the road trodden by the march of science.

When I was working at the _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, I
naturally asked Mr. Galton for leave to publish the letters he had
received from my father.  But he would not agree.  Mr. Darwin, he said,
had spoken far too kindly of his work, and he preferred to keep the
praise to himself.  But later, when he wrote his _Memories_, {26a} he
fortunately realised that it is wiser to think of the value to the world
of such documents, than of private likes or dislikes.  The letter my
father wrote about _Hereditary Genius_ which Galton says “made him most
happy” begins:

“I have only read about 50 pages of your book . . . but I must exhale
myself, else something will go wrong in my inside, I do not think I ever
in all my life read anything more interesting and original.” {26b}

In reading this great book it is, I think, impossible to doubt the
strength of the work.  The quiet relentless way in which his territory is
pegged out, and the clear wisdom with which the terms of the new science
are defined, are equally impressive.  And for lighter enjoyment his
illustrations are to be recommended.  He has to settle precisely what he
means by a man being _eminent_ or _illustrious_ before he can begin to
ask—are these qualities hereditary?  An eminent man is one in four
thousand, and to make clear what this implies, he writes: “On the most
brilliant of starlight nights there are never so many as 4000 stars
visible to the naked eye at the same time; yet we feel it to be an
extraordinary distinction to a star to be accounted as the brightest in
the sky.” {27a}  If we could imagine that each new night shows us a fresh
set of stars, we might speculate as to how many nights we should watch
the sky before we found one bright enough for a Galton.

In the same way he tries to make us see a million, because in that number
there is but one illustrious man.  He worked it out in Bushey Park, where
he had gone to see the horse-chestnuts in flower, and came to the
astonishing conclusion that, taking one half only of the avenue and the
flowers visible on the sunny side of that row, it would require 10 miles
of avenue to give 1,000,000 spikes of blossom.

Later he defines _mediocrity_ in a way not very flattering to those, who,
like myself, live in the country.  Mediocrity {27b} then “defines the
intellectual power found in most provincial gatherings, because the
attractions of a more stirring life in the metropolis and elsewhere are
apt to draw away the abler classes of men, and the silly and imbecile do
not take a part in the gatherings.”  On this last point, by the way, I am
not convinced.  The research on the heredity of mental and moral
characters leads naturally to eugenics, as in the ‘Macmillan’ paper of
1865.  But before dealing with this I must say a few words about what, in
the opinion of some, is Galton’s chief claim to eminence—the study of
heredity as a whole.  There is no doubt that he was the first to treat
thoroughly and in a strict statistical method, the steps by which one
generation passes into the next.  He was pre-eminently a lover of
statistics, he was indeed what Goschen called himself, “a passionate

He used Gauss’s Law of Error, which Quetelet had already applied to human
measurements.  “The primary objects,” he says, “of the Gaussian Law of
Error were exactly opposed, in one sense to those to which I applied
them.  They were to get rid of, or to provide, a just allowance for
errors.  But these errors or deviations were the very things I wanted to
preserve and to know about.”

This conception of variation impressed him deeply, so that he remembered
the exact spot in the grounds of Naworth Castle where it first occurred
to him “that the laws of heredity {28} were solely concerned with
deviations expressed in statistical units.”

What may be called the final result of Galton’s work in heredity is, I
imagine, his _ancestral law_, namely that “the average contribution of
each parent” to its offspring is one quarter, or in other words, that
half of the qualities of the child can be accounted for when we know its
father and mother.  In the same way the four grandparents together
contribute one quarter, and so on.  He illustrates this by calculating
how much Norman blood a man has who descends from a Baron of William the
Conqueror’s.  Assuming that the Baron weighed 14 stone, his descendant’s
share in him is represented by 1/50 grain. {29}

This side of Galton’s work is, in the judgment of many, his greatest
claim to distinction as a master in the science of heredity.  How far
this is so I shall not attempt to pronounce.  It is possibly still too
soon to do so.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that Mendelism, the main
facts of which are no longer in dispute, will compel the world (if it has
not already done so) to look at variation in a very different way to that
of Galton.  The Mendelian does not, and never will, look at variation
merely as a “deviation expressed in statistical units.”  Nor can he
accept the ancestral law, because he has convinced himself that some
ancestors contribute nothing in regard to certain characters.

The contrast between Galtonism and Mendelism may be illustrated by an
example, which, if not a strict analogy, has in it something
illuminating, especially for those who do not know too much of the
subject.  Galton seems to me like a mediæval chemist, while Mendel is a
modern one.  Galton can observe, or can follow the changes that occur
when two compounds are mixed.  But he knows nothing of the mechanism of
what occurs.  But the Mendelian is like a modern chemist who calls the
chemical elements to his aid, and is able to express the result of the
experiment in terms of these elements.  This is an enormous advantage,
and if my analogy is to be trusted, it would seem as though a progressive
study of heredity must necessarily be on Mendelian lines.

But it obviously does not follow that the laborious and skilful work of
Galton and his school is wasted.  Those who wish to have made plain to
them how Biometrics may illuminate a problem which cannot as yet be
solved in Mendelian fashion, should read Dr. Schuster’s most interesting
book on eugenics.  I am thinking especially of the question as to the
heredity of tuberculosis and cancer.  The relation between Galtonism and
Mendelism is also well and temperately discussed in the late Mr. Lock’s
_Recent Progress in the Study of Variation_, 1906.

But it is time to speak of Galton as a eugenist—on which if we look to
the distant future his fame will rest.  For no one can doubt that the
science of eugenics must become a great and beneficent force in the
evolution of man.

We must be persistent in urging its value, but we must also be patient.
We should remember how young is the subject.  As recently as 1901 Galton
was, in his Huxley Lecture, compelled to speak of eugenics in these
terms: {30}

“It has not hitherto been approached along the ways that recent knowledge
has laid open, and it occupies in consequence a less dignified position
in scientific estimation than it might.  It is smiled at as most
desirable in itself, and possibly worthy of academic discussion, but
absolutely out of the question as a practical problem.”  After explaining
that the object of his discourse was to “show cause for a different
opinion,” he goes on with what, in his restrained style, is strong
language: “I shall show that our knowledge is already sufficient to
justify the pursuit of this perhaps the grandest of all objects.” {31a}

At the close of the lecture he speaks out as to the difficulties and the
pre-eminent value of eugenics, and once more of the oppressive “magnitude
of the enquiry.”

No one who reads this lecture of Sir Francis Galton’s is likely to let
eugenics go with a smile, and a remark that it is not a practical
problem.  It is one of the functions of the Eugenics Education Society to
spread the sanely scientific views here set forth by Galton, and as far
as I am able to judge, the Society has and is doing sound work in this

In another essay, {31b} Galton discusses the meaning of the ‘eu’ in
eugenics in a characteristic way.  He imagines an attempt among the
animals in the Zoological Gardens to establish a code of absolute
morality.  With customary love of detail he supposes the inquiry to be
undertaken by some animal, such as a sparrow or a rat, which is
intelligent and has easy access to all the cages, and is therefore able
to collect opinions.  There would be strongly pronounced differences
between the carnivorous animals and those which form their natural prey.
There would be a general agreement as to maternal affection, though
fishes and the cuckoo would laugh at it.  But all would agree on some
eugenic principles: That it is better to be healthy and vigorous than
sickly and weak—well-fitted for their part in life rather than the
reverse—in fact, good specimens of their kind whatever that kind may be.

Sir Francis Galton goes on to give a list of qualities that “nearly every
one except cranks would take into account in picking out the best
specimens of his class.”  The list includes “health, energy, ability,
manliness and courteous disposition.” {32a}  I wish he had thought of
eugenic mothers, and had translated manliness into the feminine
equivalents of courage and endurance.  When I first read this list it
struck me at once how highly distinguished was Galton himself in all
these qualities.  As we dwell on the qualities one by one, they seem to
call up echoes from the image we have of his character.  “Ability,
manliness, and courteous disposition,” how strong these were in him!  I
cannot help feeling that he might have added one more quality from his
own treasure-house, namely, a sense of humour, which is so priceless an
antiseptic to sentimentality, and was markedly present in his character.

In this same lecture {32b} Galton sums up the stages in the development
of eugenics.  (1) “It must be made familiar as an academic question.”
(2) As a practical subject worthy of serious consideration.  (3) It must
be “introduced into the national conscience, like a new religion.”  He
recapitulates in an eloquent phrase: “It has, indeed, strong claims to
become an orthodox religious tenet of the future, for Eugenics cooperates
with the workings of Nature, by securing that humanity shall be
represented by the fittest races.  What Nature does blindly, slowly, and
ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly.”

Here we see the future of eugenics marked out for us, and the last
sentence might well serve as a motto for this Society.  How are we to
work for the cause?

It is true that our opinions are formed by the daily papers, and our
actions as a nation are determined by political parties which come and go
largely by chance.  But however our opinions originate, if they are
strongly and persistently urged by a large majority of Englishmen, great
changes in the manner of human life may be effected.  Persistence is the
great thing in all reforms: in the words of my father’s favourite
quotation—“It’s dogged as does it.”  Francis Galton has been temperately
persistent in a marked degree.  His caution and wisdom are illustrated by
the dates of his writings on eugenics and heredity, which placed in order
suggest a regiment relentlessly advancing, not a bunch of heroes rushing
on a breach:—

Two papers in ‘Macmillan’s Magazine’               1865
Hereditary Genius                                  1869
‘Fraser’s Magazine’                                1873
Human Faculty (word ‘Eugenics’ first employed)     1884
Natural Inheritance                                1889
Huxley Lecture                                     1901
Sociological Society Papers                        1905
`Memories                                          1908

His temperate advance is all the more striking when we remember the fiery
impatience with which in _Hereditary Genius_ he spoke of the harm done by
the Church in ordaining that the intellectuals, the literary, and the
sensitive should be celibates, and of the wholesale slaughter by the Holy
Inquisition of the courageous and clear minded who dared to think for

From the first he had the support of Charles Darwin, who never wavered in
his admiration of Galton’s purpose, though he had doubts about the
practicality of reform.  His hesitation in regard to eugenic method is
expressed with a wise proviso as to future possibilities: “I have lately
been led,” he says, “to reflect a little . . . on the artificial checks,
but doubt greatly whether such would be advantageous to the world at
large at present, however it may be in the distant future.” {34a}  In the
first edition of the _Descent of Man_ (1874), {34b} he distinctly gives
his adherence to the eugenic idea by his assertion that man might by
selection do something for the moral and physical qualities of the race.
It is a great thing that this Society should have had Francis Galton for
its Honorary President.  It entitles us to feel assured that in following
the line of action marked out for ourselves we are on the right track,
and that in the difficult pioneer work of helping the English public to
realise the deadly need of eugenic reform we are following in Galton’s
steps.  We are also so fortunate as to have received encouragement and
help at the hands of some of the leaders in the science of heredity,
Weismann, Yves Delage, Ray Lankester, the late Adam Sedgwick, Poulton,
Bateson, and others.

Galton says somewhere {35} that great men have long boyhoods.  This was
certainly true of him, though I should rather describe as youthful the
delightful qualities that never faded out of his nature.  It is, I
believe, the correct thing to speak of the “golden dreams of youth,” and
if by this hackneyed phrase we mean a keenly imaginative outlook, a
hopefulness with a certain dash about it, a generous courage—tinged with
romance—then Francis Galton had undying youth.  And this makes his
seriously measured progress in eugenics all the more worthy of our

In one of the Macmillan articles he wrote: “Many plan for that which they
can never live to see.  At the hour of death they are still planning.”

It was thus that Francis Galton died, and as year after year we meet
together on February 16th, let us think of him and his plannings with
affection and respect.


It is sometimes asserted that the power of movement is a character
distinguishing animals from plants.  This statement arises to some extent
from an obvious confusion of thought.  Trees are stationary, they are
rooted to one spot, but they are not therefore motionless.  We think them
so because our eyes are dull—a fault curable with the help of a
microscope.  And when we get into the land of magnification, where the
little looks big and the slow looks quick, we see such evidence of
movement that we wonder not to hear as well as see the stream of life
that flows before our eyes.

In speaking of the cells of which plants are built, Huxley said that a
plant is “an animal enclosed in a wooden box.”  It is this prisoner, the
living protoplasm, that we may watch pacing round its prison walls.  And
we may see it stop as though frightened at our rough usage, and then,
after a hesitating twitch or two, we see it recover and once more flow
round the cell.  Or we can watch under the microscope minute
free-swimming plants rushing across the field of view, all one way, like
a flock of little green sheep that we can drive to and fro with a ray of
light for a sheep-dog.

But I am not going to deal with microscopic matters, but rather with
things on a bigger scale which can be seen with the naked eye.  I will
begin by trying to show that very obvious movements are to be seen in
every kitchen garden, or in every garret window, where a scarlet runner
is grown for its red flowers’ sake.

In a scarlet runner the shoot is not completely vertical, but bends over
to one side.  To record the movements of the plant a series of
photographs may be taken vertically from above the plant, so that the end
of the shoot shows like the hand of a watch against a sort of clock-face
on which the points of the compass are marked.  Such photographs show how
the shoot swings round in its instinctive search for another stick to

This well-known movement is performed by a co-ordinated series of
curvatures, the exact nature of which need not trouble us now.  Let us
rather consider the less obvious power of co-ordination which enables a
plant to grow upwards in a straight line.  Think of a forest of pine
trees, hundreds of thousands of them, all growing vertically up towards
the sky.  Here is a clear case of movement, for the leading shoots were
once but a few inches from the ground, and now they are crawling along
vertical lines 100 feet up in the air.  It may be said that this is mere
increase in size, not movement in the ordinary sense.  But it may be made
plain that the trees could not grow in this way had they not a power of
curvature, to which the term _movement_ cannot be refused.

As it is not easy to experiment on pine trees we may use a pot of mustard
seedlings, which represents in miniature a forest of vertical stems.  Now
suppose the flower-pot upset and left lying on its side for a few hours:
the seedlings will be found to have all recovered the vertical position,
and they have done so by a bend which is just as much a case of movement
as the flexure of a man’s arm, though it is effected by a very different
mechanism.  Not everyone realises how rapid this movement is.  Fig. 2 is
from a diagram made in the ordinary course of class-work at Cambridge,
and illustrates this point.  A shoot of Valerian was placed horizontally
at 2.17, and a black line painted like a silhouette on a vertical sheet
of glass to record its position at 2.30; similar lines were painted at
intervals, forming a record of fairly rapid movement.  If greater
delicacy of observation had been practised, it would have been easy to
show that the plant begins to curve up within a few minutes of being
placed horizontally.

It is a remarkable fact that the plant should be stimulated, or stirred
up, to a definite curvature by merely placing it horizontally.  The
curvature tends to bring the plant into the upright position, and when
the whole stem has reached the vertical, the stimulus ceases to exist.
It is as though the plant were in a condition of content when vertical,
and of discontent in any other position, and as though the discontent
expressed itself in curvature.

But the plant does not gain the vertical by a single continuous
curvature; at first it overdoes the thing (see Fig. 2), and the end of
the shoot may pass beyond the vertical by 20°–30°.  But this new
position, inasmuch as it is not vertical, originates a new stimulus, and
the new curvature which follows brings the shoot back towards the upright
position.  It may again overshoot the mark, but by repeated corrections
it finally attains the normal upright posture.

It is this power of correcting the line of growth whenever it deviates
from the upright that enables the pine tree to grow straight upwards.
And this is what I meant when I said that its habit of growth depends on
regulated curvature, to which no one can refuse the name of movement.

         [Picture: Fig. 2.—A Valerian stem curving geotropically]

The pine and the seedling have, in fact, a wonderful kind of
sensitiveness—a sensitiveness to the force of gravity.  To those
accustomed to think of Mimosa as the sensitive plant _par excellence_ my
words may sound strange.  But the sensitiveness of Mimosa is crude by
comparison with that of the seedling.  A plant with a perception of the
position of the centre of the earth and a power of growing along the line
so perceived is a much greater miracle than a leaf that closes its
leaflets when burnt or cut or shaken.

I shall show that certain parts of the plant have the special quality of
the perception of gravitation, but we are at present ignorant of how the
act of perception is effected.  We know something of the machinery of
hearing or vision in animals, but in plants we can only guess that when a
cell is placed horizontally a resulting change of pressure on the
protoplasm produces that loss of equilibrium which is translated into
curvature.  It is, however, probable that Němec and Haberlandt are right,
and that the stimulus depends on the pressure of solid particles, _e.g._
starch-grains, on the protoplasm. {40}

The use of this gravitational sensitiveness is clear enough.  It is to
the pine tree what a plumbline is to the builder, for neither plant nor
man can build high unless he builds straight.  A man has a general
perception of the verticalness of his body and of surrounding objects,
but he does not trust to this sense in placing brick on brick to make a
house.  He uses a plumb-line which tells him through his eye the precise
line along which he must pile his bricks.  The tree has also to pile one
over another the cells or chambers in which its protoplasmic body lives,
and this too must be done along a vertical line; but the plant is guided
by the sensitiveness to gravity of which I have spoken.

It must be clearly understood that gravity does not act directly on the
growth of plants.  It does not act as a magnet acts on iron, or to take a
better example, it does not simply act as gravity acts on the plumb-line
in which the string is kept in a vertical line by the weight.  It might
be supposed that in some occult way the stem was mechanically kept
straight like the string, and this indeed was the view formerly held
about such roots as grow straight down into the earth.  But it is not so;
the thing is not explicable mechanically.  Gravitation is nothing more
than a sign-post or signal to the plant—a signal which the plant
interprets in the way best suited to its success in the struggle for
life, just as what we see or hear gives us signals of changes in the
exterior world by which we regulate our conduct.

It may be said that this is hard to prove, and indeed, like other
biological theories, it can only be shown to be true by its explaining a
number of facts.  It is interesting to try to explain the facts without
the assumption in question.  If gravity does not act indirectly as a
signal it must act directly; and we must find a reason why, in the case
of the mustard seedling above referred to, the stem has grown up and the
root down.  There is absolutely nothing in their structure or manner of
growth to help us to see why this difference of behaviour under identical
conditions should exist.  And if, instead of placing the mustard seedling
in the dark we had grown it near the window, {41} we should have come
across another remarkable phenomenon, namely, that the stem grows
towards, the root away from, the light—and this is equally inexplicable
on a mechanical basis.

But it may be urged that it is not fair to compare a root and a stem
which are structurally unlike.  Let us, therefore, keep to roots.  When
the root of a bean has grown vertically down into the soil for some
distance it begins to bud forth into side roots.  These are exactly like
the primary root from which they spring; there is no difference in
structure or in machinery of growth.  Yet the secondary roots do not grow
vertically down, but obliquely, or in some cases horizontally.  There is
one more striking fact about the roots of the bean.  The secondary, like
the primary roots, give off branches, and these—the tertiaries—behave
differently from both the elder generations of roots.  For instead of
directing themselves vertically or horizontally, they simply treat the
force of gravity with contempt and grow where fancy leads them.  The
point on which I wish to insist is, that it is impossible to explain on
any theory of the _direct_ action of gravity why the three orders of
roots have three distinct modes of growth.  They may remind us of three
generations, grandfather, father, and son, all of one blood and yet
behaving towards the universe in three distinct ways—a fact not unknown
in human society.

On the other hand, it would not be difficult to show that the behaviour
of the three orders of roots is well suited to the plant’s needs, and
therefore we can understand how the power of reacting in three different
ways to the same signal has been evolved.  The main root takes the
shortest course to the deeper layers of earth; the four or five ranks of
secondary roots divide the world between them and push forth all round,
keeping slightly below the horizontal; the tertiaries take it for granted
that their predecessors have done the usual thing, and that they can
satisfactorily occupy the spaces left among their elders by random
growth.  The fact that the tertiary roots have no specialised
sensitiveness of gravitation shows that their unregulated growth is good
enough for the necessities of the case.  For among organised beings
necessity is the mother of development, and what their brethren of second
rank have developed they too could assuredly have gained.  To this point
of view I shall return, but first I should like to give a few more
instances of actions carried out in response to the signal of gravity;
and these examples shall be from stem-structures.

The ripe flower-heads of a clover (_T. subterraneum_) bury themselves in
the ground, thus effectually sowing their own seeds, and they are guided
to the ground by their unusual capacity of curving down and directing
themselves like a primary root towards the centre of the earth.

Other flower-stalks are guided by gravitation for quite different
purposes.  Take, for instance, a common narcissus.  In the young
condition there is a straight shaft ending in a pointed flower-bud; but
as the flower opens the stalk bends close to the top and brings the
flower-tube into a roughly horizontal position, where it shows off its
brightly coloured crown to the insects that visit it.  The flowers are
guided to the right position by the gravitational sense, and they
increase or diminish the angular bend in their stalk till the right
position is attained, as shown in Fig. 3.

All these cases of plants executing certain useful curvatures, which
occur when the plant is displaced as regards the vertical, and cease when
the habitual, relation is reached, all these, I say, seem to me only
explicable on the theory that gravitation does not act as a mechanical
influence, but as a signal which the plant may neglect entirely, or, if
it notices, may interpret in any way; that is, it may grow along the
indicated line in either direction or across it at any angle.  It may be
said that this is no explanation at all, that it only amounts to saying
that the plant can do as it chooses.  I have no objection to this, if the
meaning of the word ‘choice’ be defined.

I am now going to deal with the subject of movement from a somewhat
different point of view, namely, with the object of showing that it is
possible to discover the part of the plant which reads the signal: and
this is not necessarily the part that executes the correlated movement.
In the reflex movement of an animal (for instance, a cough produced by a
crumb going the wrong way), we distinguish the irritation of the throat
and the violent action of the muscles of the chest and abdomen; and
further, the nervous machinery by which the stimulus is reflected or
switched on, by way of the central nervous system, from the throat to the
muscles concerned in coughing.  In the plant, too, if we are to compare
its movements to the reflexes of animals (as has been done by Czapek), we
must distinguish a region of percipience, another of motility, and the
transmission of an influence from the percipient to the motor region.

Transmission of a stimulus has long been known in _Mimosa_, but, in the
far more important curvatures which we are now considering, it was not
known to [Picture: Narcissus flowers] exist before the publication of the
_Power of Movement in Plants_.  There is an experiment of Rothert’s {45}
which we make in class-work at Cambridge, and which only differs from my
father’s classical experiment in the fact that a much more perfectly
adapted plant is employed.  The plant in question is a grass, _Setaria_,
which has a remarkable form of seedling.  When the grain germinates it
does not send up a simple cylindrical sprout like an oat, but a delicate
stem terminating in a pointed swollen part which looks like a little
spear-head.  When a group of _Setarias_ is illuminated from one side they
bend strongly over, with their spearheads all pointing straight at the
light.  The spearheads do not bend; the whole movement is carried out by
the stalk on which the head is supported.  And what is remarkable is,
that the spear-head and not the stalk perceives the light.  This is
easily proved by covering the heads of a few _Setarias_ with opaque caps.
For the result is that the blindfolded seedlings remain vertical while
their companions are pointing to the light.  Thus the part which bends,
is unaffected by illumination, and the part which _is_ affected does not
bend.  The spear-head is the percipient organ, the shaft or stalk is the
motor region, and from head to shaft an influence has clearly been

My father and I made an attempt to prove the same thing for the
gravitation-sense of roots, that is, to prove that the tip of the root is
the region in which the force of gravity is perceived by the plant.  Our
method of proof does not hold good, but our conclusions are true after
all.  When gravitation is the stimulus, the experiment is much more
difficult than when light is in question, because now that fairy
godmothers are extinct we must not hope for a substance opaque to
gravitation, a substance with which we might shelter the root-tips from
the force of gravity as the tips of the _Setaria_ seedlings were
sheltered from light.

The plan adopted by us was simply to cut off the extreme tip of the
roots, and fortunately (or unfortunately) the result was just what was
expected—the tipless roots had lost the sense of gravitation, and were
unable to curve downwards towards the centre of the earth.  It was
natural to believe that the tipless roots failed to bend because their
sense-organs—their percipient parts—had been removed.  As a matter of
fact they had been removed, but it was fairly objected that the operation
of removing the delicate tissues at the tip of the root is a severe one,
and that the roots which refused to grow downwards were suffering from
shock, and not from the absence of their sense-organs.

The subsequent history of the inquiry is an instance of the unwisdom of
prophesying unless you know.  In 1894 an able summary of the question was
published in a German journal, in which the impossibility of solving the
problem of the gravitational sensitiveness of the root-tip was dwelt on,
and immediately afterwards Section K of the British Association had the
satisfaction of hearing Pfeffer read a brilliant paper giving the
long-hoped-for proof that the tip of the root is a sense-organ for
gravitation. {47}

Like many other experiments, it depends on a deception or trick played on
the plant.  The root is forced to grow into a minute glass tube closed at
one end and sharply bent in the middle, resembling a little glass boot;
the extreme tip being thus kept at right angles to the main body of the
root.  If the theory we are testing is the right one, a root with its
motor region horizontal and its tip vertical ought to continue to grow
horizontally, because the tip being vertical is not stimulated by
gravity; it is in a quiescent, or, as it were, a satisfied condition, and
no bending influence is being sent to the motor region.  And this is what
Pfeffer and Czapek found.  On the other hand, if the main body of the
root points vertically down while the sensitive tip is horizontal, a
curvature results, because as long as the tip is horizontal it is
stimulated, and the stimulus is transmitted to the motor region.

This experiment proves not only that the tip of the root is the
sense-organ for gravity, but also that the motile part is not directly
sensitive; in other words, that gravitation is perceived exclusively in
the tip of the root.  Since the publication of Pfeffer’s and Czapek’s
papers I have been lucky enough to hit on another way of investigating
percipient organs for gravitation, {48} and I am not without hopes that
botanists may become in this question as fertile as Cyrano with his seven
ways of flying to the moon.

There is a certain kind of inverted action familiarly known as the tail
wagging the dog, and it is on this principle of inversion that my
experiment is designed.  Inversion may in some cases be practised without
altering the final result.  For instance, it does not much matter whether
the thread goes to the eye (the rational masculine plan) or _vice versa_,
as in the feminine way of threading a needle.  In other cases you create
what is practically a new machine by inversion, as in a certain apparatus
in which the hand of a clock stops still while the clock itself rotates.
The effect is still more striking with my plants, for the inversion
practised on them entirely changes the character of their movement.

The result may be shown with the seedling _Setarias_ of which I have
spoken, or with _Sorghum_, as in Fig. 4.  If one of these is supported by
its seed with its stem projecting freely in the horizontal plane, the
gravitation stimulus makes it bend upwards until the tip is vertical,
when the stimulus ceases to act and the curvature comes to an end.  If
the conditions are reversed, if the seedling is supported in a horizontal
position _by its tip_, while the seed projects freely, the result is at
first the same, though finally it comes to be strikingly different.  The
basal end of the seedling is carried upwards by the curvature of the
stem; but according to the theory we are testing, the tip of the seedling
is the only part of the plant which feels the gravitational stimulus, and
the tip of the seedling remains horizontal in spite of the curvature of
the stem.  Therefore the tip of the seedling is not freed from
stimulation as it was in the first case, where the curvature brought the
tip into the vertical position.  The horizontal tip therefore continues
to send commands to the stem to go on curving, in a way I can best
explain if I am allowed to make the plant express its sensations in
words.  The tip says to the stem, “I am horizontal, therefore you must
bend upwards”; and when this order has been obeyed the tip says, “It is
of no use, I am still horizontal—go on bending.”  The result is that the
stem curls up into a spiral like a corkscrew or a French horn, as shown
in Fig. 4.

[Picture: Fig. 4.—Seedling Sorghums supported by their tips in horizontal
                               glass tubes]

These unfortunate plants are in the position of a convict on the
treadmill; their movements are, from their own point of view, absolutely
ineffectual and meaningless.  The results are, however, of some
importance from our point of view, since they give clear support to the
theory which I have now attempted to place before you, namely, that the
percipient region is at the tip of the _Setaria_ seedling, and that by
what corresponds to a reflex action, the stimulus perceived by the tip is
transmitted to the motor region.

I should like to add a few words on the question how far the movement of
plants can be placed under the general laws deducible from the movements
of animals.  Unfortunately, as soon as we attack this question we are
liable to enter regions where for the ignorant there are many pitfalls.
We are, in fact, face to face with the question whether in plants there
is anything in which we may recognise the faint beginnings of
consciousness, whether plants have the rudiments of desire or of memory,
or other qualities generally described as mental.

If we take the wide view of memory which has been set forth by S. Butler
{51a} and by Hering, we shall be forced to believe that plants, like all
other living things, have a kind of memory.  For these writers make
memory cover the whole phenomena of life.  Inheritance with them is a
form of memory, or memory a kind of inheritance.  A plant or an animal
grows into the form inherited from its ancestors by passing through a
series of changes, each change being linked to the preceding stage as the
notes of a tune are linked together in the nervous system of one who
plays the piano.  Or we may compare the development of an animal or plant
to the firing of a train of gunpowder, which completes itself by a series
of explosions, each leading to a new one.  To use the language I have
been employing, each stage in development acts as a signal to the next.

In the same way the characteristic element in what is done by memory, or
by that “unconscious memory” {51b} known as habit, is the association of
a chain of thoughts or actions each calling forth the next.

What I wish to insist on is, that the process I have called
action-by-signal is of the same type as action-by-association, and
therefore allied to habit and memory.  The plants alive to-day are the
successful ones who have inherited from successful ancestors the power of
curving in certain ways, when, by accidental deviations from their normal
attitude, some change of pressure is produced in their protoplasm.  With
the pianist the playing of A has become tied to, entangled or associated
with, the playing of B, so that the striking of note A has grown to be a
signal to the muscles to strike B.  Similarly in the plant, the act of
bending has become tied to, entangled or associated with, that change in
the protoplasm due to the altered position.  There is no mechanical
necessity that B should follow A in the tune; the sequence is owing to
the path built by habit in the man’s brain.  And this is equally true of
the plant, in which an hereditary habit has been built up in a brain-like

The capacities of plants of which I have spoken have been compared to
instincts, and if I prefer to call them reflexes it is because instinct
is generally applied to actions with something of an undoubted mental
basis.  I do not necessarily wish it to be inferred that there can be
nothing in plants which may possibly be construed as the germ of
consciousness—nothing psychic, to use a convenient term; but it is
clearly our duty to explain the facts, if possible, without assuming a
psychological resemblance between plants and human beings, lest we go
astray into anthropomorphism or sentimentality, and sin against the law
of parsimony, which forbids us to assume the action of higher causes when
lower will suffice.

The problem is clearly one for treatment by evolutionary method—for
instance, by applying the principle of continuity. {53a}  Man is
developed from an ovum, and since man has consciousness it is allowable
to suppose that the speck of protoplasm from which he develops has a
quality which can grow into consciousness, and, by analogy, that other
protoplasmic bodies, for instance those found in plants, have at least
the ghosts of similar qualities.  But the principle of continuity may be
used the other way up; it may be argued that if a lump of protoplasm can
perform the essential functions of a living thing, to all appearances
without consciousness, the supposed value of consciousness in Man is an
illusion.  This is the doctrine of animal automatism so brilliantly
treated by Huxley. {53b}  He is chiefly concerned with the value of
consciousness to an organism—a question into which I cannot enter.  What
concerns us now is, that however we use the doctrine of continuity, it
gives support to belief in a psychic element in plants.  All I contend
for at the moment is, that there is nothing unscientific in classing
animals and plants together from a psychological standpoint.  For this
contention I may quote a well-known psychologist, Dr. James Ward, {53c}
who concludes that mind “is always implicated in life.”  He remarks, too
(_ibid._ p. 287): “It would be hardly going too far to say that
Aristotle’s conception of a plant-soul . . . is tenable even to-day, at
least as tenable as any such notion can be at a time when souls are out
of fashion.”

This is a path of inquiry I am quite incapable of pursuing.  It would be
safer for me to rest contented with asserting that plants are vegetable
automata, as some philosophers are content to make an automaton of Man.
But I am not satisfied with this resting-place.  And I hope that other
biologists will not be satisfied with a point of view in which
consciousness is no more than a bye-product of automatic action, and that
they will in time gain a definite conception of the value of
consciousness in the economy of living organisms.  Nor can I doubt that
the facts discussed in these pages must contribute to the foundation of
this wider psychological outlook.


Early in May I walked up from the valley to the extreme rim of the
Cotswolds, just above our house.  The lower country is all pasture, where
we can wander at will, and delight in the many beautiful trees: the fresh
green elms, the vernal yellow of the oak (which lingers in varying
degrees behind some of its companions, but does not deserve Tolstoy’s
epithet ‘maussade’), and the grey anatomy of the timid ash, whose black
buds are still getting up their courage.  We do not owe the trees in the
meadows to landowners with a taste for natural beauty, but to the cattle
that must have shade.

The buttercups are beginning their golden show, and there is not much
else to decorate the fields, except daisies and the cheerful dandelions.
These last are still growing obliquely, and not yet staring boldly up at
the sky, as in later life.  There is also an occasional patch of
bugle—sturdy little blue sentinels, and a few purple orchids.  In the
upper meadows where the wind is cold the daisies bend their stalk and lay
their heads on the ground (as they do at night), and their little noses
look red like poor Marian’s in Shakespeare’s winter song.  In the daisy
it is the pink-tipped petals {56} huddling together that make this chilly
symbol a contrast to the happy star that sunshine shows.

Near the top of the hill is a bare pasture covered with cowslips, all
pointing their pretty heads one way.  At first it seemed that they were
simply yielding to the fresh wind, but on picking them it was made clear
that they bent their stalks wilfully, not on compulsion.  On the whole it
seemed that they were nodding towards the brighter light, but I could not
perceive that the quarter to which they turned had any advantage in

Close to the top of the hill is a little wood of nut-trees, and I looked
down into it over the hedge with a shock of pleasure at the chequer-work
of white and blue, a conspiracy of wild garlick and blue-bells.  In this
land I have not seen the blue haze covering acres of cleared woodland
such as we have in Kent.  But this colour-dance of the two plants is
beautiful in its own way.  Now we have reached the rim of the valley, and
look over into a new country, with many red patches of ploughed land, and
sheep in the treeless fields instead of cattle.  Here the skylark sings,
who is something of a stranger to us dwellers in the valley.  The same is
true of the yellow-hammer, whose hot and dusty voice is less familiar
there.  To one inland bred the seagulls feeding in the ploughed lands are
a delight.  They seem an echo from the salt sea, or a variation (in a
musical sense) on the far away silver strip which is the Severn shining
down to the Bristol Channel.

We now come to a little wandering road, called for reasons unknown to me
Seven Leases Lane, and after a time end our wanderings at a point whence
we can look down on misty Gloucester and its cathedral; and this is a
historic spot if the rumour is to be trusted, that from here King Charles
watched the siege.  The lane is pleasant with its plashed hedges beset
with traveller’s joy (clematis) and bryony.  Clematis likes to climb up
trees, but it seems quite happy ramping over the hedges.  It is now in
its freshest youth, and the careless way in which the young stems toss
themselves hither and thither gives an impression of endless living
things dancing with complete abandon on the hedge as on an airy floor.
The traveller’s joy climbs by seizing hold of the branches of plants more
solid than itself.  It grips them with its leaf-stalks, which serve as
tendrils and support the weakling stem aloft in the clear air.  But as
yet they have hardly begun to fix themselves; though some I saw which had
caught each other, giving themselves a gay aspect by seeming to dance
hand in hand.

The white bryony is there also, and its tendrils have fastened on to the
hazel, beech and dog-wood, which make up the mass of the hedge.  Their
tendrils are but delicate ropes, and when they have seized a twig they
would break away in the first fresh breeze.  But this is prevented by the
fact that the tendrils contract into spiral springs, and by the
give-and-take of its elastic coils the cable becomes almost unbreakable
and the ship rides out the stiffest gale. {58a}

Two other types of climbing plants are common in our lane, which have
neither the grasping leafstalks of clematis nor the delicate tendrils of
white bryony.  Black bryony is a twining plant, and can travel spirally
up the hazel stems, just as a hop ascends its pole.  But here in our lane
there is but little to climb up, and its livid pink stems, often twisted
with one or more brother-strands, lie along the hedge or sway in the air
like discontented snakes.  Just now they hardly show any leaves, but
later in the spring they will have finely polished ones, and later still
bunches of red berries, which do not seem to be popular with birds, and
hang on their branches till winter comes.  Another type of climber which
shows itself early is the goose-grass. {58b}  This is a humble personage,
probably looked down on by the superior climbers above described, as able
neither to swarm spirally nor to ascend by the aid of tendrils or other
gripping apparatus.  The goose-grass depends on the possession of
delicate little hooks covering stem and leaves.  These can be perceived
by stroking the plant from the base upwards, but not in the other
direction.  The hooks being directed downwards do not hinder the upward
push of the growing plant, but they prevent it from slipping downwards.
If one disentangles a goose-grass from its position it will fall weakly
over and lie along the ground.  In its simple way it gains the object
aspired to by all climbers, namely the possession of a satisfactory
position in the world without going to the expense of building a stem
stiff enough to stand alone.  To children goose-grass is valuable as the
ideal material for the making of sham birds’ nests, since the hooked
prickles hold the stems in position and make the art of nest-building a
singularly easy one.

The great revolution that breaks out in the spring, when the store-houses
of the plant pour nutriment into the numberless awakening buds is a
miracle annually repeated in the endless procession of life.  We know
something of the mechanism by which mobilisation is effected.  We know
for instance that the starch-grains guarded by the dormant plant during
the idle days of winter are liquified, or rather, that the starch is
converted into sugar, and being soluble in water can flow from the
magazines of the plant to where growth, implying the creation of millions
of newly born cells, demands material.  We are gradually learning to
understand something of that seething cauldron of life which we can dimly
watch in living things.  The ferment diastase is one of the tools with
which plants perform their miracles of chemical activity.  This diastase
and its brother-ferments have qualities resembling those of living
creatures.  They may, like seeds, be dried and kept in a bottle until
they are awakened by giving them water.  Perhaps this is talking in a
circle, and that ferments only resemble living things because organisms
contain so many of these mysterious bodies.  I like to fancy that there
is something more than this, and that a ferment is an automaton which the
plant compels to labour for it—a Frankenstein monster having semi-living
qualities, being no more than a parody of life.  But I am getting beyond
the questions that are in tune with a spring day.


The most obvious characteristic of English country life as described by
Jane Austen, is a quietness such as even the elder generation now living
have not experienced.  A quietness which many would call dull and some
few peaceful.  It is, indeed, hard to believe that life was once so
placid, so stay-at-home, so domestic, so devoid, not merely of
excitement, but of any change whatever.

The life of Emma Woodhouse (to take a single instance) has all the
characteristics of this deep repose.  At Hartfield there was certainly no
changing “from the blue chamber to the green,” a revolution which would
have made Mr. Woodhouse seriously unwell.

Emma never seems to leave home, she had not seen the sea, nor indeed had
she (before a memorable occasion) explored Box Hill, a few miles away,
although her father kept a carriage and a pair of horses.  Nor is there
any evidence of her going to London, a distance of sixteen miles.  She
did not engage in good works; there were no committees or meetings except
those held at the ‘Crown’ at which Mr. Knightly and Mrs. Elton’s _cara
sposo_ were the leaders, and where no ladies were admitted.

In comparison with the hurried unsheltered life of the modern girl, Emma
seems a princess shut in a tower of brass or an enchanted garden.  And
although in the course of the story she escapes this particular tower, it
is only to fall into the castle of Mr. Knightly, who (with his squire
William Larkins) plays the part of knight errant.

And Emma was not dull, but full of happy animation, and her quiet life
encouraged the growth of an educated, or at least a cultivated, condition
which re-appears in the other novels.  This placid life is all the more
striking in contrast to the great contemporary struggle of the Napoleonic
wars, hardly a sound of which reaches Miss Austen’s readers, although in
_Persuasion_ we do hear something of Captain Wentworth’s prize money.
George Eliot knew the flavour of this quietude, and reproduces it in the
introduction to _Felix Holt_.  But even in these pre-reform days the
quiet is beginning to be broken; the stage-coachman is beginning to dread
the railway train, and looks on Mr. Huskisson’s death as a proof of God’s
anger against Stephenson.  Again, in _Middlemarch_ we see the country
stirring in its sleep, and poor Dorothea suffering in the process of
awakening.  There is nothing of this in Miss Austen; it is true that the
Miss Bennets sometimes experienced the blankness of female existence, but
they could imagine nothing blanker than the departure of the militia from

Jane Austen’s books have something of the quiet atmosphere of Cowper’s
_Letters_.  Mr. Austen Leigh in his _Memoir_ speaks of her love for the
writings of Cowper and of Crabbe (the latter indeed she proposed to
herself to marry).  We know that Marianne Dashwood (that type of
sensibility) was very far from finding Cowper too quiet.  For when Edward
Ferrars failed to read him aloud with spirit, Marianne remarks, “Nay,
mamma, if he is not to be animated by Cowper!”

Bagehot {63a} in his article on the _Letters of Cowper_ unconsciously
describes the life at Hartfield or Mansfield Park.  Of Cowper he writes:
“Detail was his forte and quietness his element.  Accordingly his
delicate humour plays over perhaps a million letters mostly descriptive
of events which no one else would have thought worth narrating, and yet
which, when narrated, show to us, and will show to persons to whom it
will be yet more strange, the familiar, placid, easy, ruminating,
provincial existence of our great grandfathers.”

The domestic and intimate parts of life are the most lastingly happy, and
thus it is that an imaginary existence, which in some moods seems to be
unbearably humdrum, harmonises with the best parts of our own life.  The
quiet winds that blow through Miss Austen’s imagined land cannot turn
windmills or overset tall trees, but they can set going those tunelike
chains of simple experiences written on our memories by the quiet and
happy parts of life.

Imaginative writing is often compared to painting, and Miss Austen has
spoken {63b} of “the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I
work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour.”
But this gives a false impression, suggesting a niggling character from
which her work is free.  What strikes one is rather how much she conveys
by touches which seem trifling until we realise the triumph of the
result.  The effect is not a miniature, as the author suspects, but
something essentially broad in spite of its detail, like a picture by Jan

To discuss why Jane Austen’s humour is admirable, or how she reaches such
perfection in the drawing of character, seems to me as hopeless as to ask
by what means Bach or Beethoven wrote such divinely beautiful tunes.  Her
powers are rendered even more admirable by the fact {64a} that she did
not draw portraits, so that no one could say _A_ is Mr. Collins and _B_
is Mrs. Palmer.

I think it is true, but not easily explained, that the simplest people in
her books give us most pleasure.  Why is Admiral Croft so delightful, and
why do we read again and again the speech about his wife, who suffered
from sharing the exercise prescribed for her husband’s gout?  “She, poor
soul, is tied by the leg with a blister on one of her heels as big as a
three-shilling piece.”  Why do we delight in Mr. Woodhouse’s
perambulation among his guests, and his words to Jane Fairfax, “My dear,
did you change your stockings?”  In this respect we have advanced beyond
the _Quarterly_ reviewer of 1815, {64b} who says: “The faults of these
works arise from the minute detail which the author’s plan comprehends.
Characters of folly or simplicity, such as those of old Woodhouse and
Miss Bates, are ridiculous when first presented, but if too often brought
forward, or too long dwelt on, their prosing is apt to become as tiresome
in fiction as in real society.”  If ever a reviewer “damned himself to
everlasting fame,” surely this writer did so; but, indeed, we need not
have quoted so much, since (in the words of Corporal Trim) “he is damned
already” for leaving out the ‘Mr.’ before the name Woodhouse.

But six years later (1821) another _Quarterly_ reviewer (said to be
Archbishop Whately) reversed the above unfortunate judgment by singling
out the drawing of Miss Austen’s fools as shining examples of her skill.

Jane Austen must surely be the most re-read author of the last hundred
years.  Lord Holland is said to have read her books when he had the gout,
and in that case he must have experienced what smaller people have
suffered during less picturesque complaints, viz., from not being able to
determine which of her books they have most nearly forgotten.  In this
frame of mind one longs for a new Miss Austen more than for a new
symphony of Beethoven, or a play of Shakespeare, and much more than for
the lost books of Livy, which, indeed, I, for one, do not desire at all.

The power of endlessly re-reading the novels of Miss Austen is the only
advantage conferred by a bad memory.  I do not imagine that Macaulay,
greatly as he admired her, could have endured to read her as often as I
have.  Nor am I willing to allow that this is intellectual idleness, for
her works like those of Nature, always yield something new to the
faithful student.

And she, like Nature, has the power of creating in her devotees a minute
interest which I rarely experience in other writers.  It does not seem to
Austenites a foolish thing to inquire what was Mr. Woodhouse’s Christian
name, a problem only soluble by remembering that he thought it “very
pretty” of poor Isabella to call her eldest little boy Henry, and by
implication proving that the child, who should have been christened John
after his father, was named after his grandfather.  And I am proud to
remember that when the problem of Mr. Woodhouse’s name was propounded to
my mother, she solved it at once, and as though it were a question too
simple to be asked.  Nor does it seem to us trivial that the word given
by Frank Churchill to Jane during the “word-game” at Hartfield was
‘Pardon.’  This was traditionally known in the author’s family, indeed
Mr. Austen Leigh {66} says that she was always ready to reveal such
valuable facts as that Mrs. Norris’ “considerable sum” given as a present
to William in _Mansfield Park_ was one pound; that Miss Steele never
caught the Doctor, and that Mary Bennet married an unfortunate clerk of
her uncle Philip’s.  These revelations lend an air of history to her
romance, they give the exciting quality of treasure-trove to the secrets
she shares with us.  “And here,” as children’s books say, “a very pretty
game may be played by each child saying” what question he would put to
the ghost of Jane Austen.  For myself I believe I should ask, “Would
Fanny Price really have married Crawford if he had not eloped with Miss
Bertram?”  If in the words of Captain Price there had not been “the devil
to pay” in Wimpole Street.  Then, too, I should have liked some eugenic
information about Elizabeth’s (Mrs. Darcy’s) children.  Because if there
was reversion to the type of Lydia it would have been serious.  One can
fancy Elizabeth retorting that if he said another word about the Lydia
type she would pray for an infant possessing all the qualities of Lady
Catherine de Burgh, a gift well within the powers of the gods who rule

I doubt whether Jane Austen consciously painted the results of heredity;
rather, I suppose that her memory working instinctively, made, for
instance, the Bennet family consist of types recalling the father or
mother.  She could hardly have known of the questionable theory that the
eldest child is commonly inferior to the second, and nevertheless she
makes Jane Bennet inferior in capacity to Elizabeth, although so greatly
superior to the younger children of Mrs. Bennet’s type.

There are other cases of heredity among her characters; for instance, in
_Persuasion_, the snobbery and selfishness of Miss Elliott clearly
reproduces her father, while Anne, as we know from Lady Russell, was a
true child of her mother.  I like to fancy that the querulousness and
weakness of Mary (Mrs. Charles) was a perverted gentleness coming from
her mother, while her vulgarity came from Sir Walter.  Then again, Emma
had none of Mr. Woodhouse’s qualities, and we must suppose her to be a
repetition of her mother.  Unless, indeed, her general kindliness came
from her father, and possibly also the stupidity which wrecked her
matrimonial agency.  We must, I think, believe that Mrs. Woodhouse had
been a managing woman, who probably insisted on Mr. Woodhouse marrying
her; thus her instinct for matrimonial scheming was confined (we may
fancy) to her own interests.  It is too fanciful to suggest that Mrs.
Woodhouse had a tinge of hardness in her which came out in Emma’s
celebrated rudeness to Miss Bates.  At any rate, it is certain that it
was not a heritage from her father.  I knew a lady who could never
forgive this slip of poor Emma.  And the vividness of this feeling was
not a symptom of that want of literary sense which makes the gallery hiss
the villain on the stage, but must be taken as a proof of the vitality of
the character.  Isabella Woodhouse is obviously of her father’s type,
with hardly a mental feature to remind us of Emma.

In the Bertram family the inheritance is not very clear; the Miss
Bertrams seem to show the hard narrowness of Mrs. Norris, and none of the
sheep-like good nature and futility of Lady Bertram.  I suspect that in
Mrs. Norris, hardness and business tendency were an inheritance from her
uncle, the Huntingdon solicitor, for we know that he made the harsh and
commercial statement that his niece was at least £3000 short of any
equitable claim to the hand of Sir Thomas.  We do not know anything of
the parents of Lady Bertram, but we may suspect that her Ladyship
inherited from her mother the soft and cushiony character of which she is
a great example.  Mrs. Price, with her small income and large family, was
unfortunately of the same easy and futile temper.  Edward Bertram is
obviously his father the Baronet over again, with all his kindness and
extreme respectability, while what will ultimately grow into Sir Thomas’
pomposity is like the delicate tissues of the sucking pig in Charles
Lamb’s essay, not to be described by the gross terms applicable to the
adult, “Oh, call it not fat! but an indefinable sweetness growing up to
it,” etc.  The elder brother, Tom, who began life as a cheerful,
irresponsible person, falls under the family curse in consequence of a
mysterious fever, so that he doubtless inherited the fatal tendency from
Sir Thomas, together with a certain insouciance and want of heart, which
one can imagine to be forms of Lady Bertram’s emptiness and Mrs. Norris’s

This is a subject on which a Mendelian inquirer might endlessly
speculate, but the characters in fiction being even less susceptible to
experiment than our living friends and acquaintance, the interest of the
matter is soon exhausted.

It is to be regretted that Miss Austen did not allow the characters of
one novel to appear in the next.  It is true that this would have upset
plots in an absurd way, but I should like to know what would have
happened if, when Henry Tilney had made up his mind that he was in love
with Catherine, Elizabeth Bennet had appeared?  He would surely have
repented of his entanglement with Catherine.  There is, however, this to
be said, that I strongly suspect Elizabeth of being his first cousin.
She is so like him that she might have failed to please him, or he may
have known her from a little girl and looked on her as a sister.  Or the
marriages of cousins may have been as impossible among the Tilneys as in
the Royal Family of Crim Tartary, where Bulbo’s beautiful Circassian
cousin simply had to be allowed to die of love for him.

There are many possibilities in the combination of characters now
separated by inexorable paper and ink.  One can imagine a meeting at Bath
between General Tilney and Sir Walter Elliott; they would clearly
sympathise, and unless the General has injured his complexion by
incautious zeal on active service, which seems unlikely, Sir Walter would
have had “no objection to being seen with him anywhere”; he might even
have walked arm-in-arm with him as he did with Colonel Wallis, who “was a
fine military figure, though sandy haired.”  Again, Mr. Collins would
have been charmed with Mr. Dashwood in _Sense and Sensibility_, for
although the two characters are not quite similarly compounded of
snobbery and folly, yet there is a common substratum of meanness that
must have served as a bond.

It would be interesting to treat the whole of Miss Austen’s characters as
the flora of a given land is dealt with, to divide them into genera and
species, and to provide an analytical key.  Take, for instance, the young
men: these would correspond to a Natural Order, say the Ranunculaceae,
and may be divided, as the following table shows, into two groups,
Attractive and Unattractive, and these are subdivided again into four
groups which correspond to genera.  No. 1, which we should call
Brandonia, possesses the three species _Brandonia brandoni_, _ferrarsi_,
and _bertrami_, and so on with the rest.

                      [Picture: Table of characters]

Brandon, Dashwood, Ferrars, R. Ferrars, Willoughby are in _Sense and
Sensibility_; E. Bertram, Crawford, Rushworth in _Mansfield Park_; Mr.
Collins, Darcy, Wickham in _Pride and Prejudice_; Tilney and Thorpe in
_Northanger Abbey_; Mr. Elton, F. Churchill and Knightley in _Emma_;
Wentworth and Mr. Elliot in _Persuasion_.

Then of course we should need descriptions to distinguish the species,
thus in genus (ii) Darcy would be known by pride, Knightley by calm
sense, Tilney by light-hearted cheerfulness, while Wentworth would be
easily recognised by his sub-dull character.  Naturalists would dispute
whether Mr. Elton should be in the same genus as Wickham, or in the quite
distinct genus (iv); or again, whether F. Churchill should not be placed
with Darcy and Knightley.  In the same way Captain Wentworth might
perhaps be placed in the dull group with Brandon, Edward Ferrars and
Edward Bertram.

I have not attempted to include in the system all the young men who occur
in the novels.  I leave the completion to those who can devote a
life-time to the subject, and who are possessed of the necessary
discrimination and patience to marshall and arrange the whole flora of
Miss Austen’s world.

In connexion with this subject I have found it interesting to read for
the first time quite recently Miss Austen’s unfinished novels, _Lady
Susan_ and _The Watsons_.  It is easy to classify some of the
characters—thus Mrs. Robert Watson is obviously Mrs. Elton, as, indeed,
Mr. Austen Leigh points out in his _Memoir_.

In the following scene the character addressed as Jane is Mrs. Robert
Watson, who has come to stay at the house of Mr. Watson, her
father-in-law.  Elizabeth is the eldest of the Watson girls, and keeps
house for her father.  “I hope you will find things tolerably
comfortable, Jane,” said Elizabeth, as she opened the door of the spare
bed-chamber. {73}

“My good creature,” replied Jane, “use no ceremony with me, I entreat
you.  I am one of those who always take things as they find them.  I hope
I can put up with a small apartment for two or three nights without
making a piece of work.  I always wish to be treated quite _en famille_
when I come to see you.  And now I do hope you have not been getting a
great dinner for us.  Remember we never eat suppers.”  And then: “Mrs.
Robert, exactly as smart as she had been at her own party, came in with
apologies for her dress.  ‘I would not make you wait,’ said she, ‘so I
put on the first thing I met with.  I am afraid I am a sad figure.  My
dear Mr. W. (addressing her husband) you have not put any fresh powder in
your hair.’”

This is certainly Mrs. Elton’s double, and the resemblance extends to
calling her husband Mr. W.  It gives one a certain shock of surprise to
find an old friend masquerading as a new acquaintance, nor is she the
only example in the book.  I think the following speech of Mr. Tom
Musgrave will recall a well-known character.

“Oh, me,” said Tom, “whatever you decide on will be a favourite with me.
I have had some pleasant hours at ‘speculation’ in my time, but I have
not been in the way of it for a long while.  ‘Vingt-un’ is the game at
Osborne Castle. {74a}  I have played nothing but ‘Vingt-un’ of late.  You
would be astonished to hear the noise we make there—the fine old lofty
drawing-room rings again.  Lady Osborne sometimes declares she cannot
hear herself speak.  Lord Osborne enjoys it famously, and he makes the
best dealer without exception that I ever beheld—such quickness and
spirit, he lets nobody dream over their cards.  I wish you could see him
over-draw himself on both his own cards.  It is worth anything in the

We may surely recognise the folly and underbred parade of Mr. John Thorpe
in Mr. Tom Musgrave’s speech.  Again, Tom Musgrave plagues Emma just as
Thorpe persecuted Catherine by an ill-timed invitation to a _tête-a-tête_
curricle drive.

The heroine, Emma Watson, has no resemblance to Emma Woodhouse.  In
situation she may be compared to Fanny Price, for she has been brought up
by a refined aunt, and is suddenly plunged into the very different
manners and surroundings of her pushing jealous sisters; but in character
she seems to me to have none of the charm which has given Fanny Price
such various admirers as the Rev. Sydney Smith and Mr. F. W. H. Myers.
{74b}  It is perhaps characteristic of her creator’s truth, that her
heroine who is made known to us just as she arrives at her new home in
uncomfortable surroundings and among unknown sisters, should be reserved
and a little prim, and that we should be made to feel that this was not
her complete character.  Possibly she would have developed into a Fanny
Price with a strong touch of Eleanor Dashwood, but this is a barren

Another unfinished novel was begun in January, 1817, and twelve chapters
were written by the middle of March.  Miss Austen died on July 18 of that
same year.  This unnamed novel, to judge by extracts published in the
_Memoir_ (p. 181), promised to contain at least one admirable character
in the person of Lady Denham, who seems an ill-natured and grasping Mrs.
Jennings (if that is not a contradiction in terms), with a strong flavour
of Lady Catherine de Burgh.

Miss Austen’s works are not only to be studied from the point of view of
genetics, nor merely by a naturalist whose desire is to classify without
inquiry as to the origin of his species; they also supply material for
the geographer.  I do not know who first identified the Highbury of
_Emma_ with Cobham, as being seven miles from Boxhill and 18 from London
(“sixteen miles, nay 18, it must be full 18 to Manchester Street”).  The
identification is confirmed by a slip on the part of the authoress, who,
in a single passage, printed Cobham in place of Highbury.  By this method
of mensuration my friend the Master of Downing has shown Kellynch Hall in
_Persuasion_ to be near Buckland St. Mary, and Mansfield Park to coincide
roughly with Easton, near Huntingdon.

The geography of Lyme Regis is of interest.

The party from Upper Cross drove in a leisurely way to Lyme, and the
afternoon was well advanced as they descended the steep hill into the
village.  The hill is doubtless much as it was, and nearly at the bottom
are the two hotels mentioned; it is, honestly speaking, impossible to say
at which of the two the Musgroves put up.  I am inclined to believe it
was that on the west side, but my reasons, if indeed they exist, are not
worth giving.

The house in which Miss Austen is known to have stayed is probably
Captain Harville’s.  It is near the Cobb, and presents that air of not
having much room inside, which we gather from the description in
_Mansfield Park_.

But these points are of trifling interest in comparison with the really
important question—where did Louisa’s accident occur?  There are three
separate flights of steps on the Cobb, and the local photographer, in the
interests of trade, had to fix on one of them as the scene of the jump.
I cannot believe that he is right.  These steps are too high and too
threatening for a girl of that period to choose with such a purpose, even
for Louisa, whose determination of character we know to have been one of
her charms.  Then, again, this particular flight is not (so far as I
could make out) in the New Cobb, which is where the accident is described
as occurring.  It is true that at first sight it hardly looks dangerous
enough to bring about the sight which delighted the fishermen of Lyme,
namely, a “dead young lady,” or rather two, for the sensitive Mary
contributed to the situation by fainting.  I am, however, confirmed in my
belief by what happened to myself, when I went to view the classic spot.
I quite suddenly and inexplicably fell down.  The same thing happened to
a friend on the same spot, and we concluded that in the surprisingly
slippery character of the surface lies the explanation of the accident.
It had never seemed comprehensible that an active and capable man should
miss so easy a catch as that provided by Louisa.  But if Captain
Wentworth slipped and fell as she jumped, she would come down with him.

I am told that when Tennyson visited Lyme he repelled the proposals of
his friends, who wished him to see something of the beauties of the
place, and insisted on going straight to the flight of steps.  This is an
attractive trait in Tennyson’s character, but it may not have been
pleasing to his hosts.


               An Address to the Association of University
                     Women Teachers, January 13, 1911

In the following pages I propose to give my own experience of education,
that is to say, not of educating others, but of being educated.  It seems
to me that the education of one’s youth becomes clear to one in middle
life and old age; and that what one sees in this retrospect may be worth
some rough record and some sort of criticism.  One may, of course, be
mistaken about what was bad and what was good in one’s training.  But the
experience of the pupil is, at the least, one aspect of the question.
And I think that the memories of how we were taught is something much
more definite and vivid, something that can be more easily made
interesting to one’s readers, than the generalised experience gained as a

Any record of education which extends fifty years back has a certain
value, and my experience may serve as a stepping-stone to that of my
father, of which we fortunately have an account in his own words, and
these take us back to a period more than one hundred years ago.

Those of us who are inclined to despair over education as an inherent
misfortune of youth, may be encouraged by this putting down of
milestones, and may almost believe that we have moved in the right
direction.  Whereas, to those optimists who are cheerfully and
unhesitatingly educating their allotted prey of children, it may be as
salutary, as a cautionary story, to realise that the same optimism ruled
one hundred years ago, when the Eton latin grammar was a symbol to
innumerable complacent schoolmasters of what was best in the best of all
possible worlds.  But the chief part of what I have to say is
autobiographical, and I have only an occasional remark to make on the
progress and improvement that have occurred in education.

My ignorance of educational methods may probably lead me to repeat what
is well known; because what seems to me bad in my training has doubtless
been recognised as such by modern teachers, nor can I hope to have
anything very new to say about what seems to me to have been good.

As children, we, my brothers and sisters, were treated by our parents in
a way the very reverse of the pitiless 18th and early 19th century
manner—the spirit of those surprising stories such as the _Purple Jar_,
where the child is deceived by her abominable parent.  In fact, a chief
characteristic of our parents’ treatment of us was their respect for our
liberty and our personality.  We were made to feel that we were
“creatures whose opinions and thoughts were valuable to them.”

The happy relations with our elders which we enjoyed in the holidays to
some extent counteracted the evil effects of going to school.  The worst
of a boarding-school is that it is a republic of children, where the
citizens are saturated in the traditions and conventions peculiar to
themselves, and are, for more than half their lives, deprived of the
saner ideals of grown-up people.  Before we went to school we were taught
by governesses.  I cannot help wishing that we had had foreign teachers
who would have taught us to speak their language—a thing that can be done
so easily in childhood.  I have never got over the want of fluent French
and German, and I resent the fact that I should be condemned to feel like
a child or a boor in the presence of foreigners.  We are taught Latin and
Greek because, as we are assured, they introduce us to the finest
literature in the world.  To most boys they do nothing of the kind, and
are an intolerable burden.  French and German taught by the oral methods
really do introduce us to whole nations of minds that are otherwise cut
off from us; and not merely minds mirrored in books, but more especially
those of human beings as given in speech.

This is all very familiar, I only mention it because it is a special case
of a wider question, namely: How much can be safely poured into a
receptive child which he will be thankful for as he gets older?  I mean,
rather: What is the proportion that ought to be maintained between
learning to reason, _e.g._, Euclid; exercising the attentive faculties,
_e.g._, in plodding through a Latin book with a dictionary; and the more
or less mechanical acquirement, as in learning by heart?  Why was I not
taught addition by memorising tables as in the case of multiplication?
It could have been built into the structure of my mind equally well, and
would have saved much misery.  It is, of course, essential that what is
learned should be true.  I have heard a credibly attested story of a
dame-school at the beginning of last century, where class and teacher
were heard chanting together: Twice 1 is 2, twice 2 is 3, twice 3 is 4,

I certainly believe in learning by heart, and I am grateful for having
learned many dates at school; most of them are forgotten, but enough to
be of some use are retained.  The worst of it is that I am as likely to
know the date of the Flood as that of the Fire of London, and of the
battle of Arbela as that of Worcester.

I am also grateful for having been made to learn Shakespeare by heart,
although we had to do it before breakfast.  I do not imagine that I now
remember any of it, but it gave me some idea of the beauty of literature,
which I hardly gained at all from the classics.  It also started me
reading Shakespeare out of school.  I believe this is the easiest way of
supplying some modicum of literature to a boy who cannot get it out of
Latin and Greek.  And a kind of Cowper-Temple Shakespeare, without note
or comment, is more effective than regular so-called literary lessons,
and the worrying of boys about the metre or the difference between a hawk
and a handsaw.  A boy does not want to understand everything, and he
likes to get his poetry in a book which looks as if it were meant for
reading, not for cramming or for holiday tasks.

Personally, I also resent that I was not taught at school to read music
by the sol-fa system, which is another of the things that can be poured
into most children not only easily but with pleasure to themselves.  I
have been assured by a learned musician, that in the 17th century reading
music was as much a sign of culture as reading a book.  There was
recently an excellent letter in the _Times_ {82} on public school music,
pleading that boys should be allowed to drop, let us say greek iambics,
and devote the time to serious musical study.  The writer describes how
at a certain school a good professional orchestra gives a concert once in
each term, for which the boys are prepared by having the themes of the
movements, _e.g._ of a Beethoven symphony, played over to them on the
piano and expounded.  He describes how an athletic boy, a member of the
football team, declared, when the concert was over, that there was
nothing to live for during the rest of the half, apparently not even
football.  No wonder that the writer of this letter should respectfully
deride a former Head Master of Eton for his approval of choral singing,
on account of its “moral and political value.”

I have always felt that the best teaching I received was in two practical
matters, viz., how to play the flute, and how to use a microscope.  It
may be said that these were subjects in which I took a natural and
spontaneous interest, and were therefore easily taught.  This is no doubt
partly true, but I do not think it depended on any special attraction for
music or microscopy, but on something wider—on the novelty of being
taught to do something physical, something with one’s hands and ears and
eyes.  I am sure boys ought to have more practical teaching—not
necessarily in science, but such things as mild carpentering, the tying
of knots, and such exercise in rough weighing and measuring as would form
a basis for a little elementary physics.  The same is true of girls, and
in one way they need handiwork more than boys.  I found, in my Cambridge
class of practical plant-physiology, that the girls had not such ‘deft
fingers’ as their brothers; I believe the difference is largely due to
the boys having played with string and knives, etc., for many idle hours.
Both boys and girls must be taught to use, not only their hands, but
their eyes.  It seems to me piteous that when I was at school there was
absolutely nothing done to keep alive the natural sharp-eyedness of
children.  I remember vividly the intense pleasure which my father gave
me (a very small boy) by showing surprise at my knowledge of common trees
and shrubs in a winter coppice.  I am sure that school did much to kill
the power of observation in me.

It may be that observation is an essentially transitory quality, a
fleeting ancestral reminiscence, a trail of glory, like other savage
traits in children.  But more than now survives might be preserved to us
by training at school.  It ought not to be possible for a boy to come up
to a University so blind and helpless as to describe a wall-flower (which
has six obvious stamens arranged in a striking pattern) as having “about
five stamens.”  Yet this I experienced in an examination of medical
students.  Describing an object placed before him is excellent training
in observation for a boy.  And the capacity of describing an object by
memory should also be cultivated.  Remember what Dr. Noel says in
Stevenson’s story of the Saratoga Trunk, and how we may fail in a
question of life and death because we cannot describe the mysterious
stranger who dogs our footsteps.

To return for a moment to the description of an object.  It not only
practises the power of observation, but is also excellent exercise in
writing English, far better as it seems to me than the usual essay on the
usual subjects.  In describing a given object the pupil has not to seek
for material—it is there before him.  He need not recall his feelings
during a country walk, or the way he spent his time in the Christmas
holidays, or vainly search for facts on the character of Oliver Cromwell.
He can concentrate on arrangement, on directness and clearness.  My
experience of the essays set to candidates in the Natural Science Tripos
was most depressing.  A man who could write a good plain answer to an
ordinary examination question becomes ornate and tiresome when he is told
to write an essay.  Such candidates have clearly never heard the
admirable statement by Canon Ainger of the style expected in writers in
the Dictionary of Natural Biography, “No flowers by request.”  Nor can
they have known that other bit of advice, “You have no idea what strength
it gives to your style to leave out every other word.”  I have heard
suggested another method of checking the natural diffuseness of the
youthful essayist, namely, to make him confine himself to a definite
number of words, I have even heard an essay on a post card recommended.

For myself, I believe the best exercise in English I ever had was the
correction of my father’s proof-sheets.  What I found so educational was
the necessity of having to explain clearly and exactly why I objected to
a given sentence, since I naturally could not baldly express my
disapproval.  It was not only good training, but as has been well said by
my sister (who also helped in this way), “It was inexpressibly
exhilarating to work for him”—and she continues—referring to the generous
way in which he took our suggestions, “I think I felt the singular
modesty and graciousness of his nature through thus working for him in a
way I should never otherwise have done.”

How far every boy ought to be made to do mathematics (beyond simple
arithmetic) I cannot say.  I know that I am extremely grateful for the
small amount of mathematics forced into me.  I am even thankful for a
very mechanical side of the subject, namely, the use of mathematical
tables in general, and for being compelled to work out innumerable sums
by logarithms, which we had to do in a “neat tabular form” to quote our
precise master’s words.

Certainly my opportunities were strikingly better than my father’s, who
records that at Shrewsbury School nothing {85} was taught but classics,
ancient history and ancient geography.  Euclid, which he liked and felt
to be educational, was taught by a private tutor who had the attractive
characteristic of wearing top boots.

I now pass from general education to the teaching of science.  When I
went to Cambridge in 1866, the teaching, as far as the biological
sciences went, was in a somewhat dead condition.  Indeed, I hardly think
it had advanced much from the state of things which existed in 1828, when
my father entered Christ’s College.  Cambridge was a turning point in his
scientific life, chiefly through Professor Henslow’s discovery that the
youth, whom his father Dr. R. W. Darwin thought likely to be a mere
sporting man and a disgrace to his family, was really a remarkable
person, possessed by a burning zeal for science.  Henslow made a friend
of my father (he was known as the “man who walks with Henslow”), and
recommended him as naturalist to the “Beagle,” where he was made into a
man of science.

In my time there were two ways of acquiring knowledge: attending the
lectures of University professors, and going to a _coach_.  Lectures, as
my father has said, have “no advantages and many disadvantages . . .
compared with reading.”  And the same view (or heresy as he confesses it
to be) has been well given by the late Henry Sidgwick in his
_Miscellaneous Essays_ (1904).  He holds that a purely expository
lecture, without experiments or specimens, is something very like a
barbarism, an echo of the days before printing was invented.  He points
out too how there is every temptation to the teacher not to publish his
lectures.  Thus the students who live elsewhere, and therefore cannot
attend his course, “are deprived of useful instruction,” and the students
who do attend them have to receive it in an inconvenient form, in order
that the Professor may be enabled to fulfil with _éclat_ the traditional
conception of his function (_op. cit._, p. 347).  One set of lectures,
which as a medical student I was compelled to attend, were so dull that I
literally could not listen to them, but I got into a quiet corner and
read Swift’s _Journal to Stella_, and for that opportunity I am certainly

A course I thoroughly liked was that given by the late Sir George
Humphry, the Professor of Anatomy.  He used to sit balancing himself on a
stool, with his great hungry eyes fixed on us, talking in plain direct
terms of anatomy enlivened by physiology.  The one point that remains
with me is the way in which he would stop and wonder over the facts he
brought before us: “This is a wonderful thing, one of the most wonderful
things in the world, I know nothing about it—no one knows—you had better
try and find out, some of you”; simple words enough, but they struck a
chord of romance in some of his hearers.  I remember another teacher of
anatomy in London who stirred our wonder in quite another way, for he
made us marvel how any man could repeat by heart Gray’s book on Anatomy
for an hour, and wonder too, why we should be compelled to listen.

The private tutors or coaches to whom most Cambridge students of natural
history went were, as far as my experience went, hopelessly bad.  My
coach tried to ensure that I knew certain inferior books well enough to
be examined in them, but he never showed me a specimen, and never
attempted to ensure that I should have any sort of first-hand knowledge.
We were also taught by the Curator of the Botanic Garden, a completely
uneducated man, and in all ways as different from the present learned and
cultivated Curator as it is possible to imagine.  He, like my other
coach, simply insisted that we should know by heart a very bad text-book,
on which he cross-examined us as we walked round the Botanic Garden.  As
far as my recollection goes he never stopped to show us a flower or a
leaf, and we had nobody to help us to a sight of the minute structure of
plants as seen with a microscope, about which, however, we could talk
eloquently from the book.

I sometimes wonder that fire did not descend from heaven and destroy a
University which so sinned against the first elements of knowing, in
neglecting the distinction between what we learn by our own personal
experience and what we acquire from books.

Of course there are some sciences which have their origin in practical
matters, _e.g._, chemistry, which originated partly in alchemy and partly
in what is now the work of the druggist; such a science was fortunate, in
that no one objected to its claim for practical teaching.  Nevertheless,
the student of chemistry in my day easily fell into a lamentable dulness
of different coloured precipitates.  I should have liked to do something
quantitative, however rough, to get away from the everlasting test-tube,
and to make, for instance, some of the historic experiments with gases.

Human anatomy again was always taught practically, _i.e._, by work in the
dissecting-room.  But owing to the manner in which medical students were
examined, the subject failed to have the value it might have had; minute
questions were asked which no amount of dissecting would enable us to
answer.  The book had to be learned by heart, and I shudder as I remember
the futile labour entailed.  And the examination was so arranged, that
whilst we were “cramming” anatomy we had also to suffer over another
subject, materia medica, which was almost entirely useless, and wearisome
beyond belief.  Much of it was about as rational a subject to a physician
as to a surgeon would be a minute knowledge of how his knives were made
and how steel is manufactured.  I remember how, after getting through
this double ordeal of cram on drugs and on the structure of the body, I
heard a surgeon say in lecture: “This is one of the very few occasions on
which you must know your anatomy.”  I recall the anger and contempt I
then felt for the educational authorities, as I remembered the drudgery I
had gone through.

The want of organised practical work in zoology was perhaps a blessing in
disguise.  For it led me to struggle with the subject by myself.  I used
to get snails and slugs and dissect their dead bodies, comparing my
results with books hunted up in the University Library, and this was a
real bit of education.  I remember too that a thoughtful brother sent me
a dead porpoise, which (to the best of my belief) I dissected, to the
horror of the bedmaker, in my College rooms.

Then the late Mr. Clark, superintendent of the Museum of Zoology, and one
of the kindest of men, occasionally gave us beasts to cut up.  I shall
never forget my pride of heart when a preparation which I made of a
hedgehog’s inside was placed in the Museum.

Just as I was leaving Cambridge in 1869 or ’70 there arrived that great
man, Sir Michael Foster, who organised the revolution in which the
futilities of the early 19th century were blown to fragments, and in
their place a sound system of practical instruction was created.  Foster
was discovered by Huxley, and it was through him, and thanks to the
patriotism of Trinity College in creating for him the post of Praelector,
that Foster got this great opportunity.  The effect of what he did for
English education has been incalculably great.  His pupils have gone
forth into all lands, and have spread the art of learning and teaching
wherever they have come to rest.

In thinking over the reformation wrought by Michael Foster I am
somehow—quite inconsistently—reminded of the great scene in _Guy
Mannering_.  I see in imagination the cold dark cave at Warroch Head,
where Dirk Hatteraick lurks; he plays the part of False Science in the
Mystery Play, and the cave is the Cave of Inanity.  Then comes the great
flare of light, as Meg Merrilees throws the torch on to the heap of flax,
and her cry, “The hour is come and the man!” while Harry Bertram with his
supporters rush in and bind False Science fast.  Harry Bertram is, of
course, Michael Foster, and I should say that Dandie Dinmont is Coutts
Trotter.  Meg Merrilees is naturally Huxley, who was the magician of the
affair (she is always said to have looked like a man).  Here all analogy
breaks down.  Meg was killed by False Science, Huxley was not; indeed it
was the other way.  Harry Bertram lived happily ever afterwards.  Michael
Foster was not so fortunate, and I am ashamed to think that before he
died he was misunderstood and half forgotten in his own University.

I must apologise for this outburst of incoherence; I am afraid it was not
this sort of thing that Tyndall had in mind when he pleaded for the
scientific imagination—that is something much more serious.

Not only does the student of to-day get good practical teaching, but he
has the great advantage of being under professors who are generally
engaged in original work.  And if a man can afford the time to stay up
after his degree, he is encouraged and helped to undertake research.  If
practical teaching is the foundation, the protoplasm as it were, of
scientific education, I am sure that original work is its soul or spirit.

Whether, like my father in South America, we have the genius to solve big
problems in geology and “can hardly sleep at night for thinking of them,”
or whether, as with us smaller people, the task is some elusive little
point which we triumphantly track to its cause, there is an extraordinary
delight in such work.  Professor Seward arranged an admirable imitation
of original research in his advanced class on the anatomy of plants at
Cambridge.  He gave out specimens which the students had never seen;
these had to be investigated, and they had to give _viva voce_ accounts
of their discoveries to the rest of the class.  I believe this to be a
method worth imitating, and I may say as an encouragement to women
teachers that it was a Newnham student who was especially distinguished
in this mutual instruction class.

When I left Cambridge and became a medical student in London, I had the
luck to work in the laboratory of Dr. Klein, who was then head of the
Brown Institute at Nine Elms.  He was fresh from Vienna, with all the
continental traditions in favour of original research.  Even in the
ordinary laboratory work I remember how he tried to throw the romance of
practicality over my task.  He rushed in one day with a large bread-knife
stained with blood in the most sinister manner, saying that a murder had
occurred in South Lambeth, and it was for me to determine whether or no
the red fluid on the blade was blood!

Later on he set me to work investigating inflammation, and I can still
remember his praise of the harmless little paper I wrote.  To my secret
satisfaction he blamed me for the severity of my remarks on a German
Professor who had written on the subject.  He told me to strike out my
criticism, though he allowed it to be just.  I sighed as an author, but
obeyed as a pupil,—to misquote the words of Gibbon.

Education is often spoken of, and is praised or blamed, as a method of
imparting information to the young.  It is obvious that it is far more
than this.  It includes the stimulation of tastes, tendencies, or
instincts which are inherent but dormant in the pupil.  In my case the
opportunity, so wisely and kindly given by Dr. Klein, of seeing science
in the making—of seeing research from the inside—his giving me the
delight of knowing that I had added a minute fragment to the great raging
flood of publications which marks the progress of knowledge—all this was
a potent factor in my education in the wider sense.  That is, it did not
merely teach me certain facts, but woke in me the desire to work at
science for its own sake.  My father finally gave me the necessary
opportunity by taking me as his assistant.

No one should ever be able to finish the history of his own education,
because it is co-extensive with his life.  In my father’s autobiography
written shortly before his death, he attempts to sum up the effect of
this self-education on himself, both as concerns his experimental
research and also in regard to the literary part of his work.  An
instance of his modest estimate of his own mental progress, is so
characteristic that I shall venture to quote it.  “I think that I have
become a little more skilful in guessing right explanations and in
devising experimental tests; but this may probably be the result of mere
practice, and of a larger store of knowledge.  I have as much difficulty
as ever in expressing myself clearly and concisely; and this difficulty
has caused me a very great loss of time; but it has had the compensating
advantage of forcing me to think long and intently about every sentence,
and thus I have been led to see errors in reasoning and in my own
observations or those of others.”  I repeat that self-education is an
endless task.  To some men this is a comforting, to others a depressing,
fact.  Samuel Johnson was, I think, saddened by the making of fresh plans
of conduct for each new year.  A very different man, though also a
Samuel,—Butler, the author of _Erewhon_, was cheered by the thought that
it was always possible to improve.  When I knew him he was working as a
painter in an untidy room in Clifford’s Inn, without much furniture
except a piano.  He was poor, and therefore, to save models, painted
himself over and over again, the result being a cupboard full of grim
heads, which he called the chamber of horrors.  He always believed he
should succeed at last, and the point I am slowly reaching is that he
comforted himself with the belief that John Bellini entirely altered his
style when he was between 60 and 70 years of age.  One of the French
aphorism writers, Vauvenargues, has said (as translated by Lord Morley),
“To do great things a man must live as though he had never to die.” {94}
I too would recommend the wholesome theory that it is never too late to
learn; it helps to keep one from falling too soon into incurable

In the lives of big men it is sometimes possible to see how work done for
its own sake may turn out to have had its real value as a piece of
training for something of far greater worth.  Thus my father began in
1846 working at a curious Cirripede, _i.e._, a barnacle, which he had
found on his voyage; this led him to examine others, and in the end he
worked seven or eight years at this group of animals.

To his children the habit of working at barnacles seemed a commonplace
human function, like eating or breathing, and it is reported that one of
us being taken into the study of a neighbour, and seeing no dissecting
table or microscope, asked with justifiable suspicion, “Then where does
he do his barnacles?”  When I was writing my father’s _Life_, I asked Mr.
Huxley his opinion whether this seven or eight years’ work had been, in
his judgment, worth the great labour involved.  His answer was that no
man is a good judge of the speculative strain which may be put on the raw
materials of science, unless he knows at first hand how this raw material
is acquired, and this knowledge my father gained by his barnacles.  The
_Origin of Species_ is the evidence that he did not miscalculate the
strain his facts would bear, for his theory is as strong as ever.

There is one influence, of the greatest importance in regard to
education, with which I have not attempted to deal.  I mean the personal
influence of the teacher.  This is a part of the pupil’s environment
which not even a millionaire can undertake to supply to his pet
University.  It is rather a thing to pray for, and to treasure when the
gods send it to us.

There is a magic in the personal effect of a great teacher, which makes
it comparatively unimportant what sort of science he teaches.  In him the
How entirely dwarfs the What.

To take an instance.  My father’s master, Professor Henslow, was of this
type.  But some of his advice was extremely bad.  Thus he told my father
to read Lyell’s _Principles_, but on no account to believe the
theoretical parts of the book.  In spite of the warning, my father was at
once converted to the doctrines set forth in the _Principles_, and Lyell
was from that time forward the chief influence of his scientific life.
But his gratitude to Henslow remained fresh and strong to the day of his

The same thing is true of Lyell and his instructors.  When he left Oxford
and went down to Scotland geologising, he must have been full of
Buckland’s teaching, and ought to have believed that the surface of the
county of Forfar was just as the Flood left it, some few thousand years
ago.  But he at once proceeded to discover in Noachian Forfarshire the
most striking evidence of geological change actually in progress.  So
that, under the influence of a great catastrophist, Lyell became the
greatest of the uniformitarians, and more than any one man was the
destroyer of the older point of view.

The personal effect of teacher on pupil cannot be bought at a price, nor
can it be paid for in any coin but gratitude.  It is the possibility of
earning this payment that makes the best part of a teacher’s life.


   An Address to a Society Of Morris Dancers, Oxford, February 12, 1914

In the following pages I have brought together some scattered information
on the instruments, especially connected with Folk-Dancing, which give
the title to my address.  The coming to life of a mass of beautiful tunes
and dances, in response to the patient search of Mr. Cecil Sharp and a
few others, is one of the most magical occurrences of which I have any
memory.  In a less degree I have experienced the same sense of the
unexpected, in learning that in a Kentish village, so near London as
often to be darkened by the skirts of town fogs, the ancient superstition
still existed of telling the bees that their master is dead.  Such an
unsuspected lurking of primitive belief in our midst may well give a
shock of surprise.  But in the resurrection of the mass of hidden music,
and of the dying traditions of dances, a web of extraordinary beauty is
suddenly revealed—a matter of real importance.

If tunes have souls they are shut out by death from ever again vibrating
in a human tenement.  They are like the _gabel-rachels_, the souls of
unbaptised infants whom men in Yorkshire used to hear crying round the
church as though begging to be let in.  But the traditional tunes of
England are no longer homeless; they have a safe refuge in the printed
page.  They have become immortal, or as near immortality as modern paper
can insure.

Mr. Sharp has done wonderful things; he is like a naturalist who should
discover that we are unconsciously surrounded by whole races of beautiful
things as unknown to us as elves and fairies.  In the Commemoration
Service we speak gratefully of all those who “found out musical tunes.”
If ever a man deserved remembrance for literally finding out tunes it is
Mr. Sharp.

But to return to the musical instruments of the Morris dancers—the Pipe
and Tabor.  I am told that the little drum on which the piper accompanies
his tune should be pronounced ‘tabber.’  I have no doubt this is right.
The Oxfordshire name Dub suggests it, and the old French word Tabour is
something of an argument in the same direction.  In Wright’s _Dialect
Dictionary_ it is said that the lesser spotted woodpecker is called the
“tabberer” from its habit of drumming on tree trunks.  I should like to
call my pipe a “tabberer’s” pipe if only out of affection for the little
black and white bird and his drum, but the modern pronunciation, with a
long _a_, has a strong hold and can hardly be ousted.  We nowadays put
the pipe before the tabor, but in Shakespearian days this was not so.  In
_The Tempest_ Ariel plays the tune “Flout ’em and scout ’em” on a tabor
and pipe—and the artist was called a taborer {98} not a piper.  In the
same way the Provençal performer on the two instruments was (according to
Daudet), and I hope still is, known as the tabourinaire.

Morris dancing, for which the tabor and pipe once supplied the music, is
now an everyday accomplishment.  At Cambridge one may see Fellows of
Colleges dancing, waving handkerchiefs and knocking sticks in the old
manner, and I hope the same is true of Oxford.

But piping is not so common.  Some of us have heard Mr. Sharp at a
lecture, or Mr. Haydn Coffin on the stage.  But it is not an art likely
to spread rapidly, because the old English is pipe rare and hard to come
by, and copies are not common either.

I began to learn the taborer’s art on a French or Basque galoubet
obtained in Oxford from that kind friend of many musicians, the late Mr.
Taphouse.  But it was only quite recently, when Mr. Manning lent me an
old Oxfordshire instrument and allowed me to have it copied, that I made
any kind of progress.

I do not know when playing the “whittle and dub” (as they were called)
became extinct as a village art.  It certainly existed thirty years ago,
and for all I know there are still some living who could hand on the
grand manner of taboring.  Mr. Taphouse remembered very well the days
when the pipe and drum were heard all round Oxford at fairs and village
festivals.  I remember his showing me a whittle with a crack in it where
it had been broken over the head of a reveller by a drunken taborer.

The two instruments have been generally associated with dancing.
Tans’ur, {100a} writing in 1772, speaks of this.  “The Tabor and Pipe are
two musical Instruments that always accompany each other, and are mostly
used at Wakes by Country People, and at their Dancings and innocent
Diversions, and often with Morris Dancers.”  He speaks of the pipe as
played with the left hand, “on which Wrist hangs a small drum, braced in
Tune to the Pipe, and beat by the Right Hand as a Bass in Time to it:
both of which being well managed make pretty Harmony.”

In the Wallace Collection there is a picture by N. Lancret (1690–1743) of
a celebrated dancer, Mme. Camargo, who is accompanied by a small
orchestra of two recorders, a bassoon and one or more viols; these are
partly hidden at the back of the scene, while a boy with pipe and tabor
{100b} stands close to the dancer, giving the impression that she depends
on him rather than on the more formal musicians in the background.  It
may remind us of the Duke of Plaza Toro, who sings a song accompanied and
supported by his own particular private drum as well as by the orchestra.
The same quasi independence of the tabor and pipe is still to be found in
the folk music of the Catalans, the inhabitants of the north-east of
Spain.  The dance which Mr. Casals—himself a Catalan—described to me, is
a round dance of some complexity.  It is held in high esteem as a
national affair, and is danced by gentle and simple together.  The band
consists of a tabor and pipe, four large rustic oboes, some cornets and a
double-bass.  The interesting point is that the taborer always leads off
with a solo, a spirited flourish which Mr. Casals was so good as to play
on the piano.  It is curious that there is only one such traditional
flourish, and this is used whatever the dance-music may be.  Mr. Casals
described the effect of the whole band as moving and exciting in a high

I have an old newspaper cutting of the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
watching the British sailor dance a hornpipe on the deck of a man-of-war,
accompanied by a couple of marines with a drum and fife.  Shakespeare
evidently considered these two instruments as the military equivalent of
the tabor and pipe.  He makes Benedick laugh at Claudio, in love, for
throwing over the drum and fife for the taborer’s music.

In the middle ages the tabor and pipe were a good deal associated with
the performances of strollers and mountebanks.  On the other hand, they
did not always take this role.  There is a beautiful carved figure
playing the pipe and tabor in the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral,
dating from 1270.  In Strutt’s _Sports and Pastimes_ (Ed. 2, Plate XXIV),
a horse is shown, dancing to a tabor and pipe, from a MS. of about 1300;
on Plate XXIII is a drawing of a taboring hare (without a pipe) of about
the end of the 13th century.  I am not aware that these instruments are
known to have existed in England earlier than the 13th century.

Fra Angelico puts these instruments into the hands of an angelic lady.
Her tabor is beautifully given, the pipe is but slightly indicated.  In
Florence, among the singing boys of Luca della Robbia (reproduced in fig.
5), is to be found the best representation of a pipe player that I have
seen.  There is a comparatively modern picture of Will Kemp, {102a} the
Shakespearian actor, performing his dance to Norwich.  He started,
apparently in 1599, on the “first Monday in cleane Lent,” and succeeded
in his object, though not without difficulty.  His attendants’ names are
pleasant: Taborer, Tom Slye, Servant, Wm. Bee, Overseer, Geo. Sprat.

I am glad to say that a tabor and pipe appear in one very honourable
secular affair, {102b} namely, a tournament, more correctly a joust or
single combat.  One of the combatants is supported by a bagpipe, the
other by a tabor and pipe.  It must be confessed, however, that the
taborer was not well treated in mediaeval times, badly paid, and not
received with the honour given to minstrels.

                    [Picture: Fig. 5.—Pipe and Tabor]

I like the rustic character of the pipe, and its association with
cheerful mediaeval vagabonds, and, still more, its memories of centuries
of village dances.  I wish it had found a place in that “dancing in the
chequered shade,” in which Milton has immortalised the jocund rebecks.
But Milton was a player of the bass viol, and does not show any especial
feeling for wind instruments, so at least I gather from Welch’s
interesting book. {103a}

The taborer’s pipe is a whistle; it happens to be made of wood, but its
musical structure is precisely that of the penny whistle, except in one
important particular, that it has but three holes in place of six.  The
pipe is therefore a poor relation of that beautiful but extinct
instrument the _recorder_ {103b} which is only a wooden whistle.  The
recorder has a low, hollow, but most effective tone, and I shall never
forget the ravishing effect of a quartet of recorders as played at a
concert given by Mr. Galpin, the well-known authority on old English
instruments.  The taborer’s pipe has none of the sweetness of the
recorder; it is essentially a shrill instrument; indeed, I am told by a
philologist that its old German name _Schwegel_ contains a root implying
shrillness.  Another old German name is _Stamentien Pfeiffe_, which my
philological friend tells me does not occur in the best German
dictionary, and is of unknown origin.

As I have said, the pipe has but three holes (stopped by the index,
middle finger and thumb); these give four fundamental tones, which
however do not occur in the working scale of the instrument.  In the
penny whistle, and most wood-wind instruments, the octave or first
harmonic gives the means of extending the scale.  But in the taborer’s
pipe the whole of the workable scale consists of harmonics; what
corresponds to the lower octave in the penny whistle—the non-harmonic or
fundamental part of the register—can only be faintly sounded.  It is the
first harmonic or octave of the lowest of these faint notes that forms
the bottom note of the scale of the three-holed pipe. {104a}  This note
is approximately D of the modern flat pitch.  By successively raising the
middle and index fingers and then the thumb, E, F, and G are sounded.
Then all the finger holes are again closed, and by a little extra impulse
given to the breath A is sounded, being the harmonic 5th of the lower D.
Then follow B and C as harmonic 5ths of E and F, and the final D as the
octave of the lowest tone.  Above this a variable number of notes—about
four—are producible by cross-fingerings.  The ordinary work-a-day scale
of the taborer’s pipe corresponds to the 12 or 13 uppermost notes of a
seven octave P-F., or to the upper notes of a piccolo.  The galoubet’s
scale begins on a B flat one-third below the taborer’s pipe.  There was
also a bass galoubet.  This instrument is known from the figures in
Praetorius {104b} (1618), and also from one solitary pipe which has
escaped destruction.  Mr. Galpin has a copy of it in his wonderful
collection, and has allowed me to play on it. {105a}

Mersenne, {105b} in speaking of the performance of an Englishman, John
Price, may give to some unwary reader the impression that the said John
could play a continuous scale of three octaves.  But it is quite clear
that Mersenne included the faint D an octave below the lowest harmonic
note, so that Price could produce an _interval_ of three octaves but a
continuous _scale_ of only two octaves.  This is not impossible.  I can
play two out-of-tune shrieking notes above my high A, or 12th note, so
that I can, after a fashion, get within one note of John Price, and I
live in hopes of acquiring yet another and tying with him.  The uppermost
sounds are made by what was technically known as _pinching_, _i.e._
crooking the thumb and forcing the nail into the top hole, so that only a
minute stream of air escapes.  An old pipe of mine shows the mark of the
pinching thumb nail.  Mr. Forsyth speaks of “an instrument with only a
few notes” as being “much restricted in the way of compass”: {105c} this
is not quite just to the taborer’s pipe.

In relation to Mr. Forsyth’s discussion on the _diauloi_, it should be
remembered that the double pipe still exists in Russia.  It is described
by Mahillon {106} under the name of the Gelaïka.  The fundamental tones
of the two instruments are the lower F sharp in the treble stave, and the
B natural above it.  Mahillon adds: “tantot elles se partagent la
mélodie, d’autres fois elles font entendre des intonations doubles.”

With regard to the Greek double-pipe, I am sure that Mr. Forsyth is
right, and that the bandage (_phorbeia_), which is commonly said to have
served to compress the cheeks, must have had some other use.  I have no
doubt that he is justified in assuming that the bandage served to support
the instrument.  In a pipe with three holes on the upper surface a
certain amount of grip on the instrument is given by pressure of the
little finger above and the thumb below, and with practice it would be
quite possible to manage the instrument.  Still, the bandage would give
freedom to the fingers, and for the four-holed pipe this form of support
would be absolutely necessary.  My conclusions are based on experiments
on the penny whistle temporarily converted into an instrument for one

In speculating on the evolution of the taborer’s pipe, it must be
remembered that its harmonics (on which, as I have said, its scale
depends) are those of a cylindrical pipe, and a pipe that is long in
relation to its bore.  I like to think that it had its origin in some of
the many natural hollow cylinders found among plants, for instance, the
reed grass that grows in fens and dykes, or the elder which supplies a
pipe when its pith is bored out, and is perhaps more familiar as the
parent of pop-guns than of musical instruments.  Then again, there are
the hollow stalks of umbelliferous plants, such as angelica and hemlock.
The late Mr. Welch, in his interesting book on Recorders, pointed out
{107} that _sambucus_ the elder, _calamus_ the reed, and _cicuta_ the
hemlock all occur in classic verse in relation to rustic music.  Indeed
the word calamus still lives, though corrupted to the French chalumeau
and still further altered to the German Schalmei and the English shawm.

Welch doubts whether hemlock or similar stems would be strong enough for
the suggested purpose.  They certainly would not stand rough usage, but
it is possible to make a taborer’s pipe out of an _Angelica_ stem, for I
have one.  It is husky and out of tune, but it shows the thing to be

This connexion between music and the form of plants is not without
interest from a wider point of view.  We ask ourselves why hollow
cylinders occur so commonly in vegetable architecture.  That rough
teacher, the struggle for life, has taught plants that a tube is,
mechanically speaking, the best way of arranging a limited amount of
formative or building material.  The hemlock or the reed can thus make
stalks of ample strength and at comparatively slight cost.  There is
romance in the fact that plants made tubular stems to their own private
profit for unnumbered ages before the coming of man: the hollow reeds
waiting all these aeons till Pan should come and make them musical.

The pipe and tabor have probably come down to us less changed than any
other wood-wind instrument, with the possible exception of the panpipes;
both flutes and flageolets have become covered with keys, while the pipe
still has no more than three aboriginal holes, one for the thumb behind
and two for the fingers in front.  I have wasted some time in trying to
make out how the early taborers held their pipes, but musical instruments
are generally drawn with hopeless inaccuracy.  I have been rewarded by
finding that a boy in Luca della Robbia’s bas-relief (Fig. 5) at Florence
holds the pipe just as I do, {108a} between the ring and little fingers,
which keep the instrument steady even when all three holes are uncovered.
There is an interesting point connected with the true or French
flageolet.  This instrument has six holes arranged in two triads, a thumb
and two fingers of the right hand, and the same for the left, so that if
all holes are open there would seem to be nothing to steady the pipe.
But in Mr. Welch’s book (p. 50) is a figure from Greeting’s _Pleasant
Companion _{108b} showing how the flageolet should be held, and this,
curiously enough, is one of the best views of what I hold to be the
proper grip for the taborer’s pipe.

The tabor is still much as it was in Fra Angelico’s day (judging from the
angel above referred to), and indeed in earlier times, as shown in the
piping angel in Lincoln Cathedral.  We can see what a drum-maker calls
the ropes and braces {109a} for tightening the parchment; the snares are
also shown in many early drawings of tabors.  These are pieces of gut or
of horse-hair, stretched across the drum-head, which add a spirited
rattle to its tone.  Why the first edition of the _Dictionary of Music_
went out of its way to say that the tabor had no snares I cannot guess.

In many of the mediaeval drawings the artist is shown beating his drum on
the snare side.  I had fancied that this was only one more instance of
the bad drawing of musical instruments, but when I saw the careful work
of Luca della Robbia, in which the tabors are all beaten on the snare
side, I could no longer doubt.  I was, however, glad to find in a French
account {109b} of the Provençal 3-holed pipe or galoubet, that this
custom survives.  In Luca della Robbia’s work a single snare-cord is
shown instead of four to six catgut lines as in modern drums and this is
also true of the Provençal instrument.  So that both the characteristics
that seemed strange to me in Luca’s tabor survive in Provence.

It may not be generally known that the French for the snare of a drum is
_timbre_; this is the original meaning of the word, and its familiar use
to mean the characteristic tone of a musical sound is later.  According
to Darmstetter the word ‘timbre’ is own brother to ‘tambour,’ both being
derived from a low Latin form of tympanum.

The tabor-stick has changed since the early centuries.  In some of the
old drawings the taborer is striking his instrument with a bludgeon,
instead of the light and elegant sticks such as are to be seen in Mr.
Manning’s collection at Oxford.  Such implements were doubtless treasured
by the taborer.  Valmajour, the tabourinaire in Daudet’s _Numa
Roumestan_, possessed a drum-stick which had been in the family for 200

The way of holding the drum has not always been the same.  Nowadays we
are told to hang it from the thumb or wrist.  But in many early drawings
it is apparently firmly strapped or tied to the forearm, or even above
the elbow. {110a}  The Lincoln Angel and Luca’s boy have tabors supported
by a string round the neck, and this I find to be the best method.

I hope that the drum may long survive in Provence with its ancient
companion the pipe. {110b}  A different instrument, however, supplies an
accompaniment to the galoubet in the Basque provinces.  It is a rough
sort of lyre with six or seven strings tuned alternately to the tonic and
dominant, which beaten with a stick make a drone bass to the pipe.  It
has the attractively savage name of _toon-toona_, an imitative word like
tom-tom; the galoubet is called the _cherula_.

From a French cyclopædia I learn that in Provence the taborer’s art was a
secret passed on from father to son, a mystery they refused to teach for
money.  They appeared to hold the patriotic opinion that the art of
playing the galoubet, or as they call it, the _flûtet_, has never spread
from Provence because of its extreme difficulty.  This has been a comfort
to me in my attempts to play the pipe and tabor.


At the risk of being tedious in the way of repetition I have thought it
worth while to put together a rough list of the illustrations of pipe and
tabor which I have met with.

The earliest representation of a player on the 3-holed pipe, of which I
have any knowledge, is the beautiful figure in the Angel Choir at
Lincoln.  Its date is, I believe, 1270, and it has been injured so that
it is not possible to be sure of the manner in which the pipe is held.
The tabor is suspended by means of a string round the neck.

The most careful representation of our instrument is that by Luca della
Robbia, figured at p. 102, in which what I call the correct grip is

In Pierpoint Morgan’s _Catalogue of Early Printed Books_, Vol II., p.
118, are some illustrations from Gafori, 1492.  The pipe is quite
incorrectly held, more than two fingers being employed while the thumb is

_Ibid._, Vol III., p. 82.  In a figure from Pierre Michaud’s _Dance des
Aveugles_, 1485, the pipe has four instead of two holes on the upper

_Ibid._, Vol III., p. 86.  The pipe is incorrect, the holes being too far
from the lower end of the instrument; the hand is wrongly given according
to our standards, the little finger being flourished in the air.  The
tabor is suspended from the hand as in the English style, and is struck
on the snare side.

In Kemp’s _Nine Daies Wonder_ (see above p. 102) the drawing of the pipe
is not instructive.

In Strutt’s _Sports and Pastimes_ there are several early drawings of
performers on the 3-holed pipe.  The grip in the majority is correct,
_i.e._ there are three fingers visible, two covering the holes and the
ring finger gripping against the little finger underneath.  The
illustrations are also correct in the fingers being close to the lower
end of the pipe.

In Betley Hall, Staffordshire, is a painted glass window, probably dating
from 1535, in which a piper is represented.  Mr. Tollet, a former squire
of Betley, gave an account of it in Johnson and Steevens’ Shakspeare,
which is reprinted in a privately published book by Barthomley.  The pipe
is a conical tube, on which four fingers are represented; it could not, I
believe, have been drawn from a model.

In Mahillon’s _Catalogue_ i., p. 375, is a figure of a Basque playing a
3-holed pipe, and accompanying himself on the tountouna, a rough stringed
instrument.  The grip seems to be carefully drawn, but it is hard to see
how it could be efficient, only two fingers being seen on the upper
surface of the pipe.  On the other hand, in a photograph of a Basque
playing the same instrument (which I owe to the kindness of a
correspondent), the grip is like that figured by Mahillon.

Finally, in _Punch_, November 13, 1907, a 3-holed pipe is incorrectly
drawn.  The bore of the instrument is conical, the holes are incorrectly
given, and the hand is wrong.


The following diagram gives the fingerings which I have found to be best
for a 3-holed pipe, a copy of an old one in the possession of Mr.
Manning, of Oxford, to whom I am indebted for much kindly assistance.

                [Picture: Fig. 6. 3-holed pipe fingering]

The fingerings are given for the keys D and G.  I have not attempted to
play in other keys.  For each note the upper circle represents the
thumbhole; 1 and 2 are for the first and second fingers respectively.
The black circles are supposed to be closed, the white are open.  Holes
that are half open are represented by circles half white, half black.  In
the case of A2 and B2 the circles are three-quarter black; this means
that a very minute crack is left open.

It is important to remember that each pipe has its individuality.  For
instance, in one of my instruments G must have the thumb hole completely
open, and the alternate fingering (with the index hole closed) is quite
out of tune.  The note E is sometimes sharp; in the pipe, the fingerings
of which are given in fig. 6, this fault is corrected by means of a thin
metal lining to the lower hole.


In attempting to give a picture of any man’s life and work it is well to
follow the rule of the _Dictionary of National Biography_, and begin with
the dates of his birth and death.  Stephen Hales was born in 1677 and
died in 1761, having had experiences of the reigns of seven sovereigns.

The authorities for his life are given in my article on Hales in the
_Dictionary of National Biography_.  Botanists in general probably take
their knowledge of the main facts of his life from Sachs’ _History of
Botany_.  It is therefore worth while to point out that both the original
and the English translation (1890) contain the incorrect statement that
Hales was educated at Christ’s College, Cambridge, and that he held the
living of Riddington, whereas he is one of the glories of Corpus, and was
perpetual curate of Teddington.  These inaccuracies, however, are trifles
in relation to the great and striking merits of Sachs’ _History_, a work
which, to my thinking, exhibits the strength and brilliance of the
author’s mind as clearly as any of his more technical writings.  Sachs
was no niggling biographer, and his broad vigorous outlines must form the
basis of what anyone, who follows him, can write about the botanists of a
past day.

To return to Hales’ birth.  It is of interest to note how he fits into
the changing procession of lives, to see what great men overlap his
youth, who were his contemporaries in his maturity, and who were
appearing on the scientific stage as he was leaving it.

Sir Isaac Newton was the dominant figure in English science while Hales
was developing.  He died in 1727, the year in which Hales published his
_Vegetable Staticks_, a book, which like the _Origin of Species_,
appeared when its author was 50 years of age.  Newton was at the zenith
of his fame when Hales was a little boy of 10—his _Principia_ having been
published in 1687, and when Hales went up to Cambridge in 1696 he must
have seen the great man coming from his rooms {116a} in the N.E. corner
of the Great Court of Trinity—that corner where Newton’s and other more
modern ghosts surely walk—Macaulay who used to read, pacing to and fro by
the chapel, {116b} and Thackeray who, like his own Esmond, lived “near to
the famous Mr. Newton’s lodgings.”  In any case there can be no doubt
that the genius of Newton cast its light on Hales, as Sachs has clearly
pointed out (_Hist. Bot._, Eng. Tr., p. 477).  Another great man
influenced Hales, namely Robert Boyle, who was born 1627 and died 1691.
John Mayow again, that brilliant son of Oxford, whose premature death at
39 in 1679 was so heavy a blow to science, belongs to the same school as
Hales—the school which was within an ace of founding a rational
chemistry, but which was separated from the more obvious founders of that
science by the phlogiston-theory of Becchers and Stahl.  I do not find
any evidence that Hales was influenced by the phlogistic writers, and
this is comprehensible enough, if, as I think, he belongs to the school
of Mayow and Boyle.

The later discoverers in chemistry are of the following dates, Black
1728–1799, Cavendish 1731–1810, Priestley 1733–1804, Scheele 1742–1786,
Lavoisier 1743, guillotined 1794.  These were all born about the time of
Hales’ zenith, nor did he live {117} to see the great results they
accomplished.  But it should not be forgotten that Hales’ chemical work
made more easy the triumphant road they trod.

I have spoken of Hales in relation to chemists and physicists because,
though essentially a physiologist, he seems to me to have been a chemist
and physicist who turned his knowledge to the study of life, rather than
a physiologist who had some chemical knowledge.

Whewell points out in his _History of the Inductive __Sciences_ {118a}
that the physiologist asks questions of Nature in a sense differing from
that of the physicist.  The _Why_? of the physicist meant _Through what
causes_? that of the physiologist—_to what end_?  This distinction no
longer holds good, and if it is to be applied to Hales it is a test which
shows him to be a physicist.  For, as Sachs shows, though Hales was
necessarily a teleologist in the theological sense, he always asked for
purely mechanical explanations.  He was the most unvitalistic of
physiologists, and I think his explanations suffered from this cause.
For instance, he seems to have held that to compare the effect of heat on
a growing root to the action of the same cause on a thermometer {118b}
was a quite satisfactory proceeding.  And there are many other passages
in _Vegetable Staticks_ where one feels that his speculations are too
heavy for his knowledge.

Something must be said of Hales’ relation to his predecessors and
successors in botanical work.  The most striking of his immediate
predecessors were Malpighi 1628–1694, Grew 1628–1711, Ray 1627–1705, and
Mariotte (birth unknown, died 1684); and of these the three first were
born one hundred years before the publication of _Vegetable Staticks_.
Malpighi and Grew were essentially plant-anatomists, though both dealt in
physiological speculations.  Their works were known to Hales, but they do
not seem to have influenced him.

We have seen that as a chemist Hales is somewhat of a solitary figure,
standing between what may be called the periods of Boyle and of
Cavendish.  This is even more striking in his botanical position, for
here he stands in the solitude of all great original inquirers.  We must
go back to Van Helmont, 1577–1644, to find anyone comparable to him as an
experimentalist.  His successors have discovered much that was hidden
from him; but consciously or unconsciously they have all learned from him
the true method and spirit of physiological work.

It may be urged that in exalting Hales I am unfair to Malpighi.  It may
be fairer to follow Sachs in linking these great men together, and to
insist on the wonderful fact that before Malpighi’s book in 1671,
vegetable physiology was still where Aristotle left it, whereas 56 years
later, in 1727, we find in Hales’ book an experimental science in the
modern sense.

It should not be forgotten that students of animal physiology agree with
botanists as to Hales’ greatness.  A writer in the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_ speaks of him as “the true founder of the modern experimental
method in physiology.”

According to Sachs, Ray made some interesting observations on the
transmission of water, but on the whole what he says on this subject is
not important.  There is no evidence that Ray influenced Hales.

Mariotte, the physicist, came to one physiological conclusion of great
weight; {119} namely, that the different qualities of plants, _e.g._
taste, odour, etc., do not depend on the absorption from the soil of
differently scented or flavoured principles, as the Aristotelians
imagined, but on _specific differences_ in the way in which different
plants deal with identical food material—an idea which is at the root of
a sane physiological outlook.  These views were published in 1679, {120}
and may have been known to Hales.  He certainly was interested in such
ideas, as is indicated by his attempts to give flavour to fruit by
supplying them with medicated fluids.  He probably did not expect
success, for he remarks (p. 360): “The specifick differences of
vegetables, which are all sustained and grow from the same nourishment,
is [_sic_] doubtless owing to the very different formation of their
minute vessels, whereby an almost infinite variety of combinations of the
common principles of vegetables is made.”  He continues in the following
delightful passage: “And could our eyes attain to a sight of the
admirable texture of the parts on which the specific differences in
plants depends, [_sic_] what an amazing and beautiful scene of inimitable
embroidery should we behold? what a variety of masterly strokes of
machinery? what evident marks of consummate wisdom should we be
entertained with?”  To conclude what has been said on Hales’
chronological position—Ingenhousz, the chief founder of the modern point
of view on plant nutrition, was born 1730 and published his book, _On
Vegetables_, etc., in 1779.  So that what was said of Hales’ chemical
position is again true of him considered in relation to nutrition; he did
not live to see the great discoveries made at the close of the 18th

There is in his writing a limpid truthfulness and simplicity,
unconsciously decorated with pretty 18th century words and
half-rusticities which give it a perennial charm.  And inasmuch as I
desire to represent Hales, not only as a man to be respected but also to
be loved, it will be as well to give what is known of the personal side
of his character before going on to a detailed account of his work.

He was, as we have seen, entered at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in
June 1696.  In February 1702–3 he was admitted a fellow of the College.
It was during his life as a fellow that he began to work at chemistry in
what he calls “the elaboratory in Trinity College.”  The room is now
occupied by the Senior Bursar, and forms part of the beautiful range of
buildings in the bowling green, which, freed from stucco and other
desecration, are made visible in their ancient guise by the piety of a
son of Trinity and the wisdom of the College authorities.  It was here,
according to Dr. Bentley, that “the thieving Bursars of the old set
embezzled the College timber,” {121} and it was this room that was fitted
up as “an elegant laboratory” in 1706 for John Francis Vigani, an Italian
chemist, who had taught unofficially in the University for some years,
and became, in 1703, the first Professor of Chemistry at Cambridge.

Judging from his book, _Medulla Chymiae_, 1682, Vigani was an eminently
practical person, who cared greatly about the proper make of a furnace
and the form of a retort but was not cumbered with theories.

Hales vacated his fellowship and became minister or perpetual curate of
Teddington {122} in 1708–9, and there he lived until his death, fifty-two
years afterwards.  He was married (? 1719) and his wife died without
issue in 1721.

He attracted the attention of Royalty, and received plants from the
King’s garden at Hampton Court.  Frederick Prince of Wales, the father of
George III., is said to have been fond of surprising him in his
laboratory at Teddington.  This must surely be a unique habit in a
prince, but we may remember that, in the words of the Prince’s mock
epitaph, “Since it is only Fred there’s no more to be said.”  He became
Clerk of the Closet to the Dowager Princess, and this “mother of the best
of Kings,” as she calls herself, put up his monument in Westminster
Abbey.  Hales had the honour of receiving the Copley Medal from the Royal
Society in 1739, and Oxford made him a D.D. in 1733.

Some years ago I made a pilgrimage to Teddington, and found in the parish
registers many interesting entries by his hand; the last, in a tremulous
writing, is on November 4th, 1760, two months before he died.  He was
clearly an active parish priest.  He made his female parishioners do
public penance when he thought they deserved it.  He did much for the
fabric of the church.  “In 1754 {123a} he helped the parish to a decent
water supply and characteristically records in the parish register that
the outflow was such as to fill a two-quart vessel in ‘three swings of a
pendulum beating seconds, which pendulum was 39+2/10 inches long from the
suspending nail to the middle of the plumbet or bob.’”  Under the tower
he helped to build (which now serves as a porch) Stephen Hales is buried,
and the stone which covers his body is being worn away by the feet of the
faithful.  By the piety of a few botanists a mural tablet, on which the
epitaph is restored, has been placed near the grave.

Horace Walpole called Hales “a poor, good, primitive creature” and Pope
{123b} (who was his neighbour) said, “I shall be very glad to see Dr.
Hales, and always love to see him, he is so worthy and good a man.”
Peter Collinson writes of “his constant serenity and cheerfulness of
mind”; it is also recorded that “he could look even upon wicked men, and
those who did him unkind offices, without any emotion of particular
indignation; not from want of discernment or sensibility, but he used to
consider them only like those experiments which, upon trial, he found
could never be applied to any useful purpose, and which he therefore
calmly and dispassionately laid aside.”

Hales’ work may be divided into three heads:

I         Physiological, animal and vegetable;
II        Chemical;
III       Inventions and miscellaneous essays.

Under No. I I shall deal only with his work on plants.  The last heading
(No. III) I shall only refer to slightly, but the variety and ingenuity
of his miscellaneous publications is perhaps worth mention here as an
indication of the quality of his mind.  It seems to me to have had
something in common with the versatile ingenuity of Erasmus Darwin and of
his grandson Francis Galton.  The miscellaneous work also exhibits Hales
as a philanthropist, who cared passionately for bettering the health and
comfort of his fellow creatures by improving their conditions of life.

His chief book from the physiological and chemical point of view is his
_Vegetable Staticks_.  It will be convenient to begin with the
physiological part of this book, and refer to the chemistry later.
_Vegetable Staticks_ is a small 8vo of 376 pages, dated on the title-page
1727.  The “_Imprimatur_ Isaac Newton Pr. Reg. Soc.” is dated February
16, 1720, and this date is of some slight interest, for Newton died on
March 20, and _Vegetable Staticks_ must have been one of the last books
he signed.

The dedication is to George Prince of Wales, afterwards George III.  The
author cannot quite avoid the style of his day, for instance: “And as
_Solomon_ the greatest and wisest of men, disdeigned {124} not to inquire
into the nature of Plants, _from the __Cedar of Lebanon_, _to the Hyssop
that springeth out of the wall_: So it will not, I presume, be an
unacceptable entertainment to your Royal Highness,” etc.

But the real interest of the dedication is its clear statement of his
views on the nutrition of plants.  He asserts that plants obtain
nourishment, not only from the earth, “but also more sublimed and exalted
food from the air, that wonderful fluid, which is of such importance to
the life of Vegetables and Animals,” etc.  We shall see that his later
statement is not so definite, and it is well to rescue this downright
assertion from oblivion.

His book begins with the research for which he is best known, namely that
on transpiration.  He took a sunflower growing in a flowerpot, covering
the surface of the earth with a plate of thin milled lead, and cemented
it so that no vapour could pass, leaving a corked hole to allow of the
plant being watered.  He did not take steps to prevent loss through the
pot, but at the end of the experiment cut off the plant, cemented the
stump, and found that the “unglazed porous pot” perspired 2 ozs. in 12
hours, and for this he made due allowance.

The plant so prepared he proceeded to weigh at stated intervals.  He
obtained the area of the leaves by dividing them into parcels according
to their several sizes, and measuring one leaf {125} of each parcel.  The
loss of water in 12 hours converted to the metric system is 1.3 c.c. per
100 sq. cm. of leaf-surface; and this is of the same order of magnitude
as Sachs’ result, {126a} namely, 2.2 c.c. per 100 sq. cm.

He goes on to measure the surface of the roots {126b} and to estimate the
rate of absorption per area.  The calculation is of no value, since he
did not know how small a part of the roots is absorbent, nor how
enormously the surface of that part is increased by the presence of
root-hairs.  He goes on to estimate the rate of the flow of water up the
stem; this would be 34 cubic inches in 12 hours if the stem (which was
one square inch in section) were a hollow tube.  He then allowed a
sunflower stem to wither and to become completely dry, and found that it
had lost ¾ of its weight, and assuming that the ¼ of the “solid parts”
left was useless for the transmission of water he increases his 34 by ⅓
and gives 45⅓ cubic inches in 12 hours as the rate.  But the solid matter
which he neglected contained the vessels, and he would have been nearer
to the truth had he corrected his figures on this basis.  The simplest
plan is to compare his results with those obtained by Sachs {126c} in
allowing plants to absorb solutions of lithium-salts.  If the flow takes
place through conduits equivalent to a quarter of a square inch in area,
the fluid will rise in 12 hours to a height of 4+34 or 136 inches, or in
one hour to 28.3 cm. {126d}  This is a result comparable to, though very
much smaller than, Sachs’ result with the sunflower, viz. 63 cm. per

The data are however hardly worth treating in this manner.  But it is of
historic interest to note that when Sachs was at work on his
_Pflanzenphysiologie_, published in 1865, he was compelled to go back
nearly 140 years to find any results with which he could compare his own.

We need not follow Hales into his comparison between the “perspiration”
of the sunflower and that of a man, nor into his other transpiration
experiments on the cabbage, vine, apple, etc.  But one or two points must
be noted.  He found {127a} the “middle rate of perspiration” of a
sunflower in 12 hours of daylight to be 20 ounces, and that of a “dry
warm night” about 3 ounces; thus the day transpiration was roughly seven
times the nocturnal rate.  This difference may be accounted for by the
closure of the stomata at night, a phenomenon unknown to Hales.

Hales {127b} notes another point which a knowledge of stomatal behaviour
might have explained, viz., that with “scanty watering the perspiration
much abated”; he does not attempt an explanation, but merely refers to it
as a “healthy latitude of perspiration in this sunflower.”

In the course of his work on sunflowers he notices that the flower
follows the sun.  He says, however that it is “not by turning round with
the sun,” _i.e._ that it is not a twisting of the stalk, and goes on to
call it _nutation_, which must be the _locus classicus_ for the term used
in this sense.

An experiment {128a} that I do not remember to have seen quoted elsewhere
is worth describing.  It is incidentally of interest as showing the
generous scale on which his work was planned.  An apple bough five feet
long was fixed to a vertical glass tube nine feet long.  The tube being
above and the branch hanging below, the pressure of the column of water
would act in concert with the suck of the transpiring leaves, instead of
in opposition to this force.  He then cut the bare stem of his branch in
two, placing the apical half of the specimen (bearing side branches and
leaves) with its cut end in a glass vessel of water; the basal and
leafless half of the branch remained attached to the vertical tube of
water.  In the next 30 hours only 6 ounces dripped through the leafless
branch, whereas the leafy branch absorbed 18 ounces.  This, as he says,
shows the great power of perspiration.  And though he does not pursue the
experiment, it is worthy of note as an attempt, like those of Janse
{128b} and others, to correlate the flow of water under pressure with the
flow due to transpiration.

It is interesting to find that Hales used the three methods of estimating
transpiration which have been employed in modern times—namely, (i)
weighing, (ii) a rough sort of potometer, (iii) enclosing a branch in a
glass balloon and collecting the precipitated moisture, the well-known
plan followed by various French observers.

He (_Vegetable Staticks_, p. 51) concluded his balance of loss and gain
in transpiring plants by estimating the amount of available water in the
soil to a depth of three feet, and calculating how long his sunflower
would exist without watering.  He further concludes (p. 57) that an
annual rainfall of 22 inches is “sufficient for all the purposes of
nature, in such flat countries as this about Teddington.”

He constantly notes small points of interest, _e.g._ (p. 82) that with
cut branches the water absorbed diminishes each day, and that the former
vigour of absorption may be partly renewed by cutting a fresh surface.

He also showed (p. 89) that the transpiration current can flow perfectly
well from apex to base when the apical end is immersed in water.

These are familiar facts to us, but we should realise that it is to the
industry and ingenuity of Hales that we owe them.  In a repetition (p.
90) of the last experiment we have the first mention of a fact
fundamentally important.  He took two branches (which with a clerical
touch he calls M and N), and having removed the bark from a part of the
branch, dipped the ends in water, N with the great end downwards but M
upside down.  In this way he showed that the bark was not necessary for
the absorption or transmission of water. {129b}  I suspect that one
branch was inverted out of respect for the hypothesis of sap-circulation.
He perhaps thought that water could travel apically by the wood, but only
by the bark in the opposite direction.

Next in order (p. 95) comes his well-known experiment on the pressure
exerted by peas increasing in size as they imbibe water.  There are,
however, pitfalls in this result of which Hales was unaware, and perhaps
the chief interest to us now is that he considered the imbibition of the
peas {130a} to be the same order of phenomenon as the absorption of water
by a cut branch—notwithstanding the fact that he knew the absorption to
depend largely on the leaves. {130b}  It may be noticed that Sachs, in
his imbibitional view of water-transport, may be counted a follower of

In order to ascertain “whether there was any lateral communication of the
sap and sap vessels, as there is of blood in animals,” Hales (p. 121)
made the experiment which has been repeated in modern laboratories,
{130c} _i.e._ cutting a “gap to the pith,” and another opposite to it and
a few inches above.  This he did on an oak branch six feet long whose
basal end was placed in water.  The branch continued to “perspire” for
two days, but gave off only about half the amount of water transpired by
a normal branch. {130d}  He does not trouble himself about this
difference, being satisfied of “great quantities of liquor having passed
laterally by the gap.”

He is interested in the fact of lateral transmission in connexion with
the experiment of the suspended tree (Fig. 24, p. 126), which is
dependent on the neighbours to which it is grafted for its water supply.
This seems to be one of the results that convinced him that there is a
distribution of food material which cannot be described as circulation of
sap in the sense that was then in vogue.

Hales (p. 143) was one of the first {131a} to make the well-known
experiment—the removal of a ring of bark, with the result that the edge
of bark nearest the base of the branch swells and thickens in a
characteristic manner.  He points out that if a number of rings are made
one above the other, the swelling is seen at the lower edge of each
isolated piece of bark, and therefore (p. 143) the swelling must be
attributed “to some other cause than the stoppage of the sap in its
return downwards,” because the first gap in the bark should be sufficient
to check the whole of the flowing sap. {131b}  He must, in fact have seen
that there is a redistribution of plastic material in each section of

We now for the moment leave the subject of transpiration and pass on to
that of root-pressure on which Hales is equally illuminating.

His first experiment (_Vegetable Staticks_, p. 100), was with a vine, to
which he attached a vertical pipe made of three lengths of glass-tubing
jointed together.  His method is worth notice.  He attached the stump to
the manometer with a “stiff cement made of melted Beeswax and Turpentine,
and bound it over with several folds of wet bladder and pack-thread.”  We
cannot wonder that the making of water-tight connexions was a great
difficulty, and we can sympathise with his belief that he could have got
a column more than 21 feet high but for the leaking of the joints on
several occasions.  He notes the familiar fact that the vine-stump
absorbed water before it began to extrude it.

He afterwards (pp. 106–7) used a mercury gauge, and registered a
root-pressure of 32½ inches or 36 feet 5½ inches of water, which he
proceeds to compare with his own determination of the blood-pressure of
the horse (8 feet) and of other animals.  Perhaps the most interesting of
his root-pressure experiments was that (p. 110) in which several
manometers were attached to the branches of a bleeding vine, and showed a
result which convinced him that “the force is not from the root only, but
must proceed from some power in the stem and branches,” a conclusion
which some modern workers have also arrived at.


Hales’ belief that plants draw part of their food from the air, and
again, that air is the breath of life, of vegetables as well as of
animals (p. 148), are based upon a series of chemical experiments
performed by himself.  Not being satisfied with what he knew of the
relation between “air” (by which he meant gas) and the solid bodies in
which he supposed gases to be fixed, he delayed the publication of
_Vegetable Staticks_ for some two years, and carried out the series of
observations which are mentioned in his title-page as “An attempt to
analyse the air, by a great variety of chymio-statical experiments,”
occupying 162 pages of his book. {133}

The theme of his inquiry he takes (_Vegetable Staticks_, p. 165) from
“the illustrious Sir _Isaac Newton_,” who believed that “dense bodies by
fermentation rarify into several sorts of Air; and this Air by
fermentation, and sometimes without it, returns into dense bodies.”

Hales’ method consisted in heating a variety of substances, _e.g._
wheat-grains, pease, wood, hog’s blood, fallow-deer’s horn,
oyster-shells, red-lead, gold, etc., and measuring the “air” given off
from them.  He also tried the effect of acid on iron filings,
oyster-shells, etc.  In the true spirit of experiment he began by
strongly heating his retorts (one of which was a musket barrel) to make
sure that no air arose from them.  It is not evident to me why he
continued at this subject so long.  He had no means of distinguishing one
gas from another, and almost the only quality noted is a want of
permanence, _e.g._ when the CO2 produced was dissolved by the water over
which he collected it.  Sir E. Thorpe {134a} points out that Hales must
have prepared hydrogen, carbonic acid, carbonic oxide, sulphur dioxide,
and marsh gas.  It may, I think, be said that Hales deserved the title
usually given to Priestley, viz. “the father of pneumatic {134b}

Perhaps the most interesting experiment made by Hales is the heating of
minium (red-lead) with the production of oxygen.  It proves that he knew,
as Boyle, Hooke and Mayow did before him, that a body gains weight in
oxidation.  Thus Hales remarks: “That the sulphurous and aereal particles
of the fire are lodged in many of those bodies which it acts upon, and
thereby considerably augments their weight, is very evident in Minium or
Red Lead, which is observed to increase in weight in undergoing the
action of the fire.  The acquired redness of the Minium indicating the
addition of plenty of sulphur in the operation.”  He also speaks of the
gas distilled from minium, and remarks: “It was doubtless this quantity
of air in the Minium which burst the hermetically sealed glasses of the
excellent _Mr. Boyle_, when he heated the Minium contained in them by a
burning glass” (p. 287).

This was the method also used by Priestley in his celebrated experiment
of heating red-lead in hydrogen, whereby the metallic lead reappears and
the hydrogen disappears by combining with the oxygen set free.  This was
expressed in the language of the day as the reconstruction of metallic
lead by the addition of phlogiston (the hydrogen) to the calx of lead
(minium).  Thorpe points out the magnitude of the discovery that
Priestley missed, and it may be said that Hales too was on the track, and
had he known as much as Priestley it would not have been phlogiston that
kept him from becoming a Cavendish or Lavoisier.  What chiefly concerns
us, however, is the bearing of Hales’ chemical work on his theories of
nutrition.  He concludes that “air makes a very considerable part of the
substance of Vegetables,” and goes on to say (p. 211) that “many of these
particles of air” are “in a fixt state, strongly adhering to and wrought
into the substance of” plants. {135a}  He has some idea of the
instability of complex substances, and of the importance of the fact, for
he says {135b} that “if all the parts of matter were only endued with a
strongly attracting power, [the] whole [of] nature would then become one
unactive cohering lump.”  This may remind us of Herbert Spencer’s words:
“Thus the essential characteristic of living organic matter, is that it
unites this large quantity of contained motion with a degree of cohesion
that permits temporary fixity of arrangement” (_First Principles_, §
103).  With regard to the way in which plants absorb and fix the “air”
which he finds in their tissues, Hales is not clear; he does not in any
way distinguish between respiration and assimilation.  But as I have
already said, he definitely asserts that plants draw “sublimed and
exalted food” from the air.

As regards the action of light on plants, he suggests (p. 327) that “by
freely entering the expanded surfaces of leaves and flowers” light may
“contribute much to the ennobling principles of vegetation.”  He goes on
to quote Newton (_Opticks, query_ 30): “The change of bodies into light,
and of light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of nature,
which seems delighted with transformations.”  It is a problem for the
antiquary to determine, whether or no Swift took from Newton the idea of
bottling and recapturing sunshine as practised by the philosopher of
Lagado.  He could hardly have got it from Hales, since _Gulliver’s
Travels_ was published in 1726, before _Vegetable Staticks_.

Nevertheless, Hales is not quite consistent about the action of light;
thus (p. 351) he speaks of the dull light in a closely planted wood as
checking the perspiration of the lower branches, so that “drawing little
nourishment, they perish.”  This is doubtless one effect of bad
illumination under the above-named conditions, but the check to
photosynthesis is a more serious result.  In his final remarks on
vegetation (p. 375) Hales says in relation to green-houses, “It is
certainly of as great importance to the life of the plants to discharge
that infected rancid air by the admission of fresh, as it is to defend
them from the extream cold of the outward air.”  This idea of ventilating
greenhouses he carried out in a plant-house designed by him for the
Dowager Princess of Wales, in which warm fresh air was admitted.  The
house in question was built in 1761 in the Princess’s garden at Kew,
which afterwards became what we now know as Kew Gardens.  The site of
Hales’ greenhouse, which was only pulled down in 1861, is marked by a big
wistaria which formerly grew on the greenhouse wall.  It should be
recorded that Sir W. Thiselton-Dyer {137a} planned a similar arrangement
independently of Hales, and found it produced a marked improvement of the
well-being of the plants.

It is worthy of note, that though Hales must have known Malpighi’s theory
of the function of leaves (which was broadly speaking the same as his
own), he does not as far as I know refer to it.  In his preface (p. ii.)
he regrets that Malpighi and Grew, whose anatomical knowledge he
appreciated, had not “fortuned to have fallen into this statical {137b}
way of inquiry.”  I believe he means an inquiry of an experimental
nature, and I think it was because Malpighi’s theory was dependent on
analogy rather than on ascertained facts that it influenced Hales so

There is another part of physiology on which Hales threw light.  He was
the first, I believe, to investigate the distribution of growth in
developing shoots and growing leaves, by marking them and measuring the
distance between the marks after an interval of time.  He describes (p.
330) and figures (p. 344) with his usual thoroughness the apparatus
employed; this was a comb-like object made by fixing into a handle five
pins ¼ inch apart from one another; the points being dipped in red-lead
and oil, a young vine-shoot was marked with ten dots ¼ inch apart.  In
the autumn he examined his specimen, and finds that the youngest
internode or “joynt” had grown most, and the basal part having been
“almost hardened” when he marked it, had “extended very little.”  In
this—a tentative experiment—he made the mistake of not re-measuring his
plants at short intervals of time, but it was an admirable beginning, and
the direct ancestor of Sachs’ {138a} great research on the subject.  In
his discussion on growth it is interesting to find the idea of
turgescence supplying the motive force for extension.  This conception he
takes from Borelli. {138b}

Hales sees in the nodes of plants “plinths or abutments for the dilating
pith to exert its force on” (p. 335); but he acutely foresees a modern
objection {138c} to the explanation of growth as regulated solely by the
hydrostatic pressure in the cell.  Hales says (p. 335): “But a dilating
spongy substance, by equally expanding itself every way, would not
produce an oblong shoot but rather a globose one.”

It is not my place to speak of Hales’ work in animal physiology, nor of
those researches bearing on the welfare of the human race which occupied
his later years.  Thus he wrote against the habit of drinking spirits,
and made experiments on ventilation by which he benefited English and
French prisons, and even the House of Commons; then too he was occupied
in attempts to improve the method of distilling potable water at sea, and
of preserving meat and biscuit on long voyages. {139a}

We are concerned with him simply as a vegetable physiologist, and in that
character his fame is imperishable.  Of the book which I have been using
as my text, namely, _Vegetable Staticks_, Sachs says: “It was the first
comprehensive work the world had seen which was devoted to the nutrition
of plants and the movement of their sap. . . .  Hales had the art of
making plants reveal themselves.  By experiments carefully planned and
cunningly carried out he forced them to betray the energies hidden in
their apparently inactive bodies.” {139b}  These words, spoken by a great
physiologist of our day, form a fitting tribute to one who is justly
described as the father of physiology.


There is a well-known story of Charles Darwin which I shall venture to
repeat, because nothing can better emphasise the contrast between
Shrewsbury School as it is and as it was.

Charles Darwin used, as a boy, to work at chemistry in a rough laboratory
fitted up in the tool-house at his home in Shrewsbury.  The fact that he
did so became known to his school-fellows, and he was nicknamed “Gas.”  I
have an old Delphine Virgil of my father’s in which this word is
scrawled, together with the name Miss Case, no doubt a sneer at his
having come from Case’s preparatory school.  Dr. Butler, the Head Master,
heard of the chemical work, and Charles Darwin was once publicly rebuked
by that alarming person for wasting his time on such useless subjects.
My father adds, “He called me very unjustly a _poco curante_, and as I
did not understand what he meant it seemed to me a fearful reproach.”  A
_poco curante_ means of course “a don’t-care person” or one who takes no
interest in things, and might perhaps be translated by “slacker.”  I do
not suppose that Dr. Butler is likely ever to be forgotten, but as it is,
he is sure of a reasonable share of immortality as the author of a
description so magnificently inappropriate. {141a}

This is the contrast I referred to; on one hand a Head Master in 1822
doing his best to discourage a boy from acquiring knowledge of a great
subject in the best possible way, _i.e._ by experiment.  And on the
other, a Head Master of the same school in 1911 encouraging, with a wise
zeal, the rational study of science as a regular part of the school
course.  It may not be possible to trace out the complete evolution of
these Darwin Buildings, but I like to fancy that the germ from which they
have sprung is that tool house at the Mount. {141b}

It is some comfort to us to know that Shrewsbury was not the only place
which failed to educate my father in the regulation lines.  When he left
school he went to Edinburgh University to study medicine.  But he found
anatomy and _materia medica_ intolerable, and the operating theatre was a
horror.  So he began to work at science in his own way.  He learned to
stuff birds from an old negro who had known Waterton.  Of this instructor
he says, “I used often to sit with him, for he was a very pleasant and
intelligent man.”  He also caught sea beasts in the pools on the shore,
and made one or two small observations, which were communicated to the
Plinian Society.

Then he was sent to Cambridge with a view to taking Orders.  He enjoyed
himself riding and shooting, and especially in catching beetles in the
fens.  But also in more intellectual ways, as in listening to the anthem
in King’s Chapel, and looking at the pictures in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Henslow, the Professor of Botany treated him as a friend rather than as a
pupil, and finally settled his career by sending him round the world in
H.M.S. _Beagle_.  He entered the ship an undergraduate, and left it after
five years a man of science.  I give these well known details to show how
little he profited by any regular course of study either at Shrewsbury,
Edinburgh, or Cambridge.  His start in life depended on the recognition
of his capacity by Henslow, and was nearly wrecked by FitzRoy, the
Captain of the _Beagle_, suspecting that no one with a nose like my
father’s could be an energetic person.

Are we therefore to conclude that the best method of scientific education
is to force a boy to work at uncongenial subjects?  In the case of a
genius it may not much matter what he is taught; he will succeed, in
spite of his education.  But for us lesser mortals it does matter.  I am
not going to talk about the way in which science should be taught in
schools, a matter about which I am not competent to speak.  What I shall
speak of is the learning rather than teaching of the subject.

I once heard Lord Rayleigh refer to the necessity of putting one’s
subject-matter clearly before an audience, and he illustrated his point
by the following story.  Somebody, possibly a lady, came from listening
to a lecture by Mr. So-and-So, and when asked what it was about, replied,
“He didn’t say.”  I shall follow Lord Rayleigh’s advice and tell you that
my subject is “Why science should be learned.”  Why it is worth while for
a boy to give up some of his time to this particular form of knowledge,
and what advantage he may expect to gain from so doing.

There are many possible reasons for a boy’s learning science.

I         Because he is told to.  This is an excellent reason, but
          not inspiriting.
II        To get marks in an Entrance Scholarship examination.  This
          is a virtuous reason but not intellectual.
III       To gain knowledge which will be of use when he comes to
          follow a profession, and wants to know physics in view of
          becoming an engineer, or physiology as a part of medical
          training.  This is a worthy reason, but not a common one.
IV        Lastly, a boy may learn science because he wants to;
          because he finds it entertaining; because it satisfies an
          unreasoning desire to know how things in general work.

This is the best possible reason and the most efficient, and what I
propose, is to inquire whether this wish to know something of science can
be justified.

The word ‘science’ simply means knowledge, but it is usually applied to
knowledge that can be verified.  Thus we learn by heart that Queen Anne
died in 1714.  I believe this to be a fact, but I have no means of
verifying it.  But if I am told that putting chalk into acid will produce
a heavy gas having the quality of extinguishing a lighted match, I can
verify it.  I can do the thing and see the results.  I am now the equal
of my teacher; I know it in the same way that he does.  It has become my
very own fact, and it seems to have the satisfactory quality that
possession gives.  This characteristic of scientific knowledge is not
always recognised.  I mean the profound difference between what we know
and what we are told.  When science began to flourish at Cambridge in the
’seventies, and the University was asked to supply money for buildings,
an eminent person objected and said, “What do they want with their
laboratories?—why can’t they believe their teachers, who are in most
cases clergymen of the Church of England?”  This person had no conception
of what the word ‘knowledge’ means as understood in science.

Another characteristic of science is that it makes us able to predict.  I
have already referred to the fact that Queen Anne is dead, and we know,
or are told, that she died, as I said before, in 1714; we also know that
George I. died in 1727, and George II. in 1760, but that would not enable
us to predict that George III. would die in 1820.  They are isolated
facts not connected by the causal bond that knits together a series of
scientific truths.  And this is after all a fortunate thing for the peace
of mind of reigning sovereigns.

It is said that you should never prophesy unless you know.  But science
is made up of prophecies.  Some are famous, like the prediction of Adams
and Leverrier that a new planet would be found in a stated position.
Some are on a humbler scale, such as my father’s prediction that a big
moth would be found to carry the pollen of Hedychium by brushing it off
with the tips of its hovering wings, a method of fertilisation unheard of
at the time, which however proved to be the fact.

You may say that it does not matter whether the moth does this particular
thing or not.  This is no doubt true from a strictly commercial point of
view.  But in science all facts have some value.  We should cultivate a
point of view about facts the very reverse of that of the unknown person
who said that all books are rather dull.

I once heard a celebrated physicist describe how he explained to an
American business man an elaborate spectroscope for examining the sun.
The American asked what good it was.  The physicist explained that with
it you can discover whether or no sodium exists in the sun.  The American
was silent for some time, and then said, “But who the ’nation cares
whether there is sodium in the sun or not?”  He had not the scientific
spirit which does care about sodium in the sun.

Scientific discovery is, as I said, made up of a series of prophecies.
You observe fact No. 1, and you say if this be so No. 2 ought to be true,
and on examination you find this is true, and No. 2 suggests No. 3.  Or
else you find 2 not to be true; this makes you suspect your original
fact, and on carefully going over your observation you find No. 1 was a
mistaken observation.  The successful man of science is one to whom
familiar objects suggest those prophecies generally known as theories.
My father was remarkable for not letting what seem to be trifling facts
pass without suggesting to him a theory.  The flies that are caught on
the sundew must have been seen by innumerable people—but it remained for
him to prove the truth of his guess that some plants possess digestive
ferments like our own, and live on the insects they catch and digest.

The art of being guided by slight indications is sometimes called the
method of Zadig, which I learn from Mr. Huxley’s essay and not from
Voltaire.  Mr. Huxley points out that it is not only possible thus to
prophesy what will happen, but also to determine what has happened; and
he suggests that there should be a word ‘backtell’ as well as foretell.
Zadig, who was an oriental philosopher, met one day the King’s servants
in great trouble about the loss of their master’s favourite horse.  When
asked whether he had seen it he said, “A fine galloper, is it not? small
hoofed, five feet high, tail 3½ feet long.  Cheek-pieces of the bit
23-carat gold, shoes silver.”  They of course begged to know where it
was, and he said he had not seen it.

This will be recognised as the method of Sherlock Holmes, but it is also
the method of science.  Surely you would like to become scientific under
the guidance of that great man.  Of course you are not to be Watsons, but
actual detectives, with Watsons of your own to admire you.  And lest you
should fear that the scientific method is alarmingly difficult, I may add
that the method of Zadig or Sherlock Holmes, or of science in general, is
nothing more than glorified common-sense.

It is difficult to talk about a subject which interests one without
seeming to claim that it is superior to all others.  I have not meant to
imply this.  I have only tried to explain in what way science differs
from some other sort of knowledge.  Nor do I wish to imply that the mind
that excels in science is better or worse than that which one finds in a
great literary man.  An eminent oar is worthy of as much respect as a
great cricketer, but he is eminent in a different way.

I am glad to think that there are points in which science, literature,
and art are equally excellent—namely, in giving to mankind some of the
deepest pleasures of which he is capable, in making him realise the
wonder, the beauty and the romance of the world.  I spoke of the power of
science in knitting together isolated facts into a theory.  And such a
theory may become so all embracing that it is called a law of nature.
Those great generalisations, the laws of gravity and the laws of
evolution, or the laws of chemical combination, have a beauty and dignity
which appeal to everyone.

And on the practical rather than on the theoretical, side there is
wonder, and to my mind beauty, in the bigness and in the smallness of the
spaces that man can deal with.  The astronomer measures out his work, not
by miles, but by the inconceivable distance that light can travel in a
year.  The man who studies bacteria measures by the micron, 25,000 of
which go to the inch.  To me there is more fascination in the very small
than in the other extreme.  It is wonderful to think that a plant—a big
tree for instance—is made up of countless millions of cells, each of
which was built by a minute protoplasmic body, which Huxley has compared
to a delicate Ariel imprisoned like Shakespeare’s sprite in an oak-tree.

There is a dramatic effect in even the simplest of experiments.  I, for
one, am never weary of the time-honoured demonstration of a water-plant
giving off oxygen as it assimilates.  A twig of Elodea in a large beaker
of water gives off no bubbles in the dull light at the back of the room,
but when close to the window it does so.  And with proper precautions the
rate of bubbling becomes an accurate measure of the intensity of
assimilation.  To complete the demonstration the experiment should be
repeated with water which has been boiled, and therefore roughly freed
from CO2, when the rate of bubbling is very greatly diminished.  Finally,
by blowing vigorously into the water it may be charged once more with
CO2, and the normal rate of bubbling may be established.

There are of course innumerable experiments in pure chemistry and physics
which have this romantic quality in the manner in which they reveal the
secrets of the invisible structure of matter—but of these I have not much
personal experience.

I think, too, that the human interest of science should always be
encouraged.  I mean that those classical experiments, by which great men
have advanced human knowledge, should be shown: and performed moreover by
the original methods, _e.g._ the discoveries of Black, Priestley and

After all, the real fun of science begins when one finds out something
that was not known before.  This is what is rather pompously called
original research.  It is interesting to see in my father’s life how the
sporting instinct gave way to the love of discovery.  To show this
passionate love of sport, he mentions that when as a boy he had just shot
his first snipe, his hands trembled so that he could hardly reload his
gun.  Yet the same boy on the voyage of the _Beagle_ found out how much
more entrancing than shooting was the chase of new facts and new
theories, and he handed over his gun to his servant.  And something of
this delight one may have as the merest learner.  You are not likely to
find out things that nobody knew before, but you may easily find out
things quite new to yourself—which to you personally are as good as the
brand-newest discovery.  Lastly, there is another excellent reason for
scientific work, namely, that the bodily welfare of the human race and of
its friendly animals and plants depends on accurate knowledge of the
nature and behaviour of everything in the world.  It is this truth that
makes us believe that every fact has its value.  Its value may remain
unrecognised for long periods, and then it may suddenly find its place in
the great jig-saw puzzle of knowledge.  The two most exciting sciences
just now seem to me to be Physics and Pathology; one as bringing us
nearer to the knowledge of the structure of matter, the other in
disentangling the causes of deadly and mysterious diseases such as
malaria, diphtheria, hydrophobia, sleeping sickness, in a manner and with
a success hitherto undreamt of.  But because the advances in these
sciences are so brilliant and hopeful, no civilised worker will venture
to despise the pursuits of less fortunate people whose work seems rather
humdrum.  There are botanists who spend their whole lives in describing
and classifying dried plants in a herbarium.  But these are really doing
highly valuable work, for the simple reason that we cannot make any
accurate use of plants until they have names.  I am omitting the purely
commercial use of such work, which is very great.  I only want to insist
that the mere naming of living things is an indispensable stone in the
building of the palace of science.  All who work at science may recognise
that they belong to a guild which makes for the happiness of the human
race.  And this they must do, not with any pride, but humbly
acknowledging how small is their personal share in the total of progress.

The Darwin Buildings, that is to say, the three new laboratories which
are open to-day, were absolutely needed to carry out the Head Master’s
plan of giving every boy in the School a chance of learning science.
When I say that at the present time 270 boys under five masters are at
work in the laboratories, you will realise to what good use they are
being put.  As I happen to represent the Royal Society on your Governing
Body it is especially satisfactory to me to know that science is here
taught on the principle expressed by the motto of the Society: “Nullius
in verba,” that is to say, not in other people’s words, but in your own
observation lies the path of Science.


George Howard, the fifth {152b} child of Charles and Emma Darwin, was
born at Down, July 9th, 1845.  Why he was christened {152c} George, I
cannot say.  It was one of the facts on which we founded a theory that
our parents lost their presence of mind at the font, and gave us names
for which there was neither the excuse of tradition nor of preference on
their own part.  His second name, however, commemorates his
great-grandmother, Mary Howard, the first wife of Erasmus Darwin.  It
seems possible that George’s ill-health and that of his father were
inherited from the Howards.  This, at any rate, was Francis Galton’s
view, who held that his own excellent health was a heritage from Erasmus
Darwin’s second wife.  George’s second name, Howard, has a certain
appropriateness in his case, for he was the genealogist and herald of our
family, and it is through Mary Howard that the Darwins can, by an
excessively devious route, claim descent from certain eminent people,
_e.g._ John of Gaunt.  This is shown in the pedigrees which George wrote
out, and in the elaborate genealogical tree published in Professor’s
Pearson’s _Life of Francis Galton_.  George’s parents had moved to Down
in September 1842, and he was born to those quiet surroundings of which
Charles Darwin wrote, “My life goes on like clockwork, and I am fixed on
the spot where I shall end it.”  It would have been difficult to find a
more retired place so near London.  In 1842 a coach drive of some twenty
miles was the only means of access to Down; and even now that railways
have crept closer to it, it is singularly out of the world, with little
to suggest the neighbourhood of London, unless it be the dull haze of
smoke that sometimes clouds the sky.  In 1842 such a village,
communicating with the main lines of traffic only by stony tortuous
lanes, may well have been enabled to retain something of its primitive
character.  Nor is it hard to believe in the smugglers and their strings
of pack-horses making their way up from the lawless old villages of the
Weald, of which the memory then still lingered. {153}

George retained throughout life his deep love for Down.  For the lawn
with its bright strip of flowers, and for the row of big lime trees that
bordered it; for the two yew trees between which we children had our
swing, and for many another characteristic which had become as dear and
as familiar to him as a human face.  He retained his youthful love of the
“Sand-walk,” a little wood far enough from the house to have for us a
romantic character of its own.

George loved the country round Down, and all its dry chalky valleys of
ploughed land, with “shaws,” _i.e._ broad straggling hedges on their
crests, bordered by strips of flowery turf.  The country is traversed by
many foot-paths; these George knew well and used skilfully in our walks,
in which he was generally the leader.  His love for the house and the
neighbourhood was, I think, entangled with his deepest feelings.  In
later years his children came with their parents to Down, and they
vividly remember his excited happiness, and how he enjoyed showing them
his ancient haunts.

In this retired region Charles Darwin’s children led a singularly quiet
life, practically without friends, and dependent on their brothers and
sisters for companionship.  George’s earliest recollection was of
drumming with his spoon and fork on the nursery table because dinner was
late, while a barrel-organ played outside.  Other memories were less
personal; for instance, the firing of guns when Sebastopol was supposed
to have been taken.  His diary of 1852 shows a composite interest in
current events and in the picturesqueness of Natural History: “The Duke
is dead.  Dodos are out of the world.”

He perhaps carried rather far the good habit of re-reading one’s
favourite authors.  He told his children that for a year or so he read
through every day the story of Jack the Giant Killer, in a little
chap-book with coloured pictures.  He early showed signs of the energy
which marked his character in later life.  I am glad to remember that I
became his companion and willing slave.  There was much playing at
soldiers, and I have a clear remembrance of our marching with toy guns
and knapsacks across the field to the Sand-walk.  There we made our
bivouac with gingerbread, and milk warmed (and generally smoked) over a
“touch-wood” fire.  I was a private while George was a sergeant, and it
was part of my duty to stand sentry at the far end of the kitchen-garden
until released by a bugle-call from the lawn.  I have a vague remembrance
of presenting my fixed bayonet at my father to ward off a kiss, which
seemed to me inconsistent with my military duties.  Our imaginary names
and heights were written up on the wall of the cloak-room.  George, with
romantic exactitude, made a small foot rule of such a size that he could
conscientiously record his height as 6 feet, and mine as slightly less,
in accordance with my age and station.

Under my father’s instruction George made spears with weighted heads,
which he hurled with remarkable skill by means of an Australian throwing
stick.  I used to skulk behind the big lime trees on the lawn in the
character of victim, and I still remember the look of the spear flying
through the air with a certain venomous waggle.  Indoors, too, we threw
at each other wooden javelins, which we received on beautiful shields
made by the village carpenter and decorated with coats of arms.

Heraldry was a serious pursuit of his for many years, and the London
Library copies of Guillim and Edmonson {156} were generally at Down.  He
retained a love of the science through life, and his copy of Percy’s
_Reliques_ is decorated with coats of arms admirably drawn and painted.
In later life he showed a power of neat and accurate draughtsmanship, and
some of the illustrations in his father’s books, _e.g._ in _Climbing
Plants_, are by his hand.

His early education was given by governesses, but the boys of the family
used to ride twice or thrice a week to be instructed in Latin by Mr.
Reed, the Rector of Hayes—the kindest of teachers.  For myself, I chiefly
remember the cake we used to have at 11 o’clock, and the occasional
diversion of looking at the pictures in the great Dutch Bible.  George
must have impressed his parents with his solidity and self-reliance,
since he was more than once allowed to undertake alone the 20-mile ride
to the house of a relative at Hartfield in Sussex.  For a boy of ten to
bait his pony and order his luncheon at the Edenbridge inn was probably
more alarming than the rest of the adventure.  There is indeed a touch of
David Copperfield in his recollections as preserved in family tradition.
The waiter always said, “What will you have for lunch, Sir?” to which he
replied, “What is there?” and the waiter said, “Eggs and bacon”; and
though he hated bacon more than anything else in the world, he felt
obliged to have it.

On August 16th, 1856, George was sent to school.  Our elder brother,
William, was at Rugby, and his parents felt his long absences from home
such an evil that they fixed on the Clapham Grammar School for their
younger sons.  Besides its nearness to Down, Clapham had the merit of
giving more mathematics and science than could then be found in public
schools.  It was kept by the Rev. Charles Pritchard, {157} a man of
strong character, and with a gift for teaching mathematics by which
George undoubtedly profited.  In, I think, 1861 Pritchard left Clapham
and was succeeded by the Rev. Alfred Wrigley, a man of kindly mood but
without the force or vigour of Pritchard.  As a mathematical instructor I
imagine Wrigley was a good drillmaster rather than an inspiring teacher.
Under him the place degenerated to some extent; it no longer sent so many
boys to the Universities, and became more like a “crammer’s” and less
like a public school.  My own recollections of George at Clapham are
coloured by an abiding gratitude for his kindly protection of me as a
shrinking and very unhappy “new boy” in 1860.

George records in his diary that in 1863 he tried in vain for a Minor
Scholarship at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and again failed to get one
at Trinity in 1864, though he became a Foundation Scholar in 1866.  These
facts suggested to me that this capacity as a mathematician was the
result of slow growth.  I accordingly applied to Lord Moulton, who was
kind enough to give me his impressions:

    My memories of your brother during his undergraduate career
    correspond closely to your suggestion that his mathematical power
    developed somewhat slowly and late.  Throughout most, if not the
    whole, of his undergraduate years he was in the same class as myself
    and Christie, the ex-Astronomer Royal, at Routh’s. {158a}  We all
    recognised him as one who was certain of being high in the Tripos,
    but he did not display any of that colossal power of work and taking
    infinite trouble that characterised him afterwards.  On the contrary,
    he treated his work rather jauntily.  At that time his health was
    excellent and he took his studies lightly, so that they did not
    interfere with his enjoyment of other things. {158b}  I remember that
    as the time of the examination came near I used to tell him that he
    was unfairly handicapped in being in such robust health and such
    excellent spirits.

    Even when he had taken his degree I do not think he realised his
    innate mathematical power. . . .  It has been a standing wonder to me
    that he developed the patience for making the laborious numerical
    calculations on which so much of his most original work was
    necessarily based.  He certainly showed no tendency in that direction
    during his undergraduate years.  Indeed, he told me more than once in
    later life that he detested arithmetic, and that these calculations
    were as tedious and painful to him as they would have been to any
    other man, but that he realised that they must be done, and that it
    was impossible to train anyone else to do them.

As a Freshman he ‘kept’ (_i.e._ lived) in A 6, the staircase at the N.W.
corner of the New Court, afterwards moving to F 3 in the Old Court,
pleasant rooms entered by a spiral staircase on the south side of the
Great Gate.  Below him, in the ground floor room, now used as the College
offices, lived Mr. Colvill, who remained a faithful but rarely seen
friend as long as George lived.

Lord Moulton, who, as we have seen, was a fellow pupil of George’s at
Routh’s, was held even as a Freshman to be an assured Senior Wrangler, a
prophecy that he easily made good.  The second place was held by George,
and was a much more glorious position than he had dared to hope for.  In
those days the examiners read out the list in the Senate House at an
early hour, 8 a.m. I think.  George remained in bed and sent me to bring
the news.  I remember charging out through the crowd the moment the
magnificent “Darwin of Trinity” had followed the expected “Moulton of St.
John’s.”  I have a general impression of a cheerful crowd sitting on
George’s bed and literally almost smothering him with congratulations.
He received the following characteristic letter from his father: {159}

                         DOWN, _Jan._ 24_th_ [1868].

    My dear old fellow,

    I am so pleased.  I congratulate you with all my heart and soul.  I
    always said from your early days that such energy, perseverance and
    talent as yours would be sure to succeed: but I never expected such
    brilliant success as this.  Again and again I congratulate you.  But
    you have made my hand tremble so I can hardly write.  The telegram
    came here at eleven.  We have written to W. and the boys.

    God bless you, my dear old fellow—may your life so continue.

                                                 Your affectionate Father,
                                                               CH. DARWIN.

In those days the Tripos examination was held in the winter, and the
successful candidates got their degrees early in the Lent Term.  George
records in his diary that he took his B.A. on January 25th, 1868; also
that he won the second of the two Smith’s Prizes—the first being the
natural heritage of the Senior Wrangler.  There is little to record in
this year.  He had a pleasant time in the summer, coaching Clement, the
nephew of Sir Charles Bunbury, at his beautiful place Barton Hall in
Suffolk.  In the autumn he was elected a Fellow of Trinity, as he
records, “with Galabin, young Niven, Clifford, [Sir Frederick] Pollock,
and [Sir Sidney] Colvin.”  W. K. Clifford was the well-known brilliant
mathematician who died comparatively early.

Chief among his Cambridge friends were the brothers Arthur, Gerald, and
Frank Balfour.  The last-named was killed, aged 31, in a climbing
accident in 1882 on the Aiguille Blanche near Courmayeur.  He was
remarkable both for his scientific work and for his striking and most
lovable personality.  George’s affection for him never faded.  His
daughter remembers her father (not long before his death) saying with
emotion, “I dreamed Frank Balfour was alive.”  I imagine that tennis was
the means of bringing George into contact with Mr. Arthur Balfour.  What
began in this chance way grew into an enduring friendship, and George’s
diary shows how much kindness and hospitality he received from Mr.
Balfour.  George had also the advantage of knowing Lord Rayleigh at
Cambridge, and retained his friendship through his life.

In the spring of 1869 he was in Paris for two months working at French.
His teacher used to make him write original compositions, and George
gained a reputation for humour by giving French versions of all the old
Joe Millers and ancient stories he could remember.

It was his intention to make the Bar his profession, {161} and in October
1869 we find him reading with Mr. Tatham, in 1870 and 1872 with the late
Mr. Montague Crackenthorpe (then Cookson), and in November 1871 he was a
pupil of Mr. W. G. Harrison.  The most valued result of his legal work
was the friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Crackenthorpe, which he retained
throughout his life.  During these years we find the first indications of
the circumstances which forced him to give up a legal career—namely, his
failing health and his growing inclination towards science. {162}  Thus
in the summer of 1869, when we were all at Caerdeon in the Barmouth
valley, he writes that he “fell ill,” and again in the winter of 1871.
His health deteriorated markedly during 1872 and 1873.  In the former
year he went to Malvern and to Homburg without deriving any advantage.  I
have an impression that he did not expect to survive these attacks, but I
cannot say at what date he made this forecast of an early death.  In
January 1873 he visited Cannes, and “came back very ill.”  It was in the
spring of this year that he first consulted Dr. (afterwards Sir Andrew)
Clark, from whom he received the kindest care.  George suffered from
digestive troubles, sickness, and general discomfort and weakness.  Dr.
Clark’s care probably did what was possible to make life more bearable,
and as time went on his health gradually improved.  In 1894 he consulted
the late Dr. Eccles, and by means of the rest-cure, then something of a
novelty, his weight increased from 9 stone to 9 stone 11 pounds.  I gain
the impression that this treatment produced a permanent improvement,
although his health remained a serious handicap throughout his life.

Meanwhile he had determined on giving up the Bar, and settled in October
1873, when he was 28 years old, at Trinity in Nevile’s Court next the
Library (G 4).  His diary continues to contain records of ill-health and
of various holidays in search of improvement.  Thus in 1873 we read,
“Very bad during January.  Went to Cannes and stayed till the end of
April.”  Again in 1874, “February to July very ill.”  In spite of
unwellness he began in 1872–3 to write on various subjects.  He sent to
_Macmillan’s Magazine_ {163a} an entertaining article, “Development in
Dress,” where the survivals in modern costume were recorded and discussed
from the standpoint of evolution.  In 1873 he wrote “On beneficial
restriction to liberty of marriage,” {163b} a eugenic article for which
he was attacked with gross unfairness and bitterness by the late St.
George Mivart.  He was defended by Huxley; and Charles Darwin formally
ceased all intercourse with Mivart.  We find mention of a “Globe Paper
for the British Association” in 1873.  And in the following year he read
a contribution on “Probable Error” to the Mathematical Society {163c}—on
which he writes in his diary, “found it was old.”  Besides another paper
in the _Messenger of Mathematics_, he reviewed “Whitney on Language,”
{163d} and wrote a “Defence of Jevons” which I have not been able to
trace.  In 1875 he was at work on the “Flow of Pitch,” on an
“Equipotential Tracer,” on slide rules, and sent a paper on “Cousin
Marriages” to the Statistical Society. {164a}  It is not my province to
deal with these papers; they are enumerated here as showing his activity
of mind and his varied interests,—features in his character which were
notable throughout life.

The most interesting entry in his diary for 1875 is a “Paper on
Equipotentials much approved by Sir W. Thomson.”  This is the first
notice of an association of primary importance in George’s scientific
career.  Then came his memoir, “On the influence of geological changes in
the earth’s axis of rotation.”  Lord Kelvin was one of the referees
appointed by the Council of the Royal Society to report on this paper,
which was published in the _Philosophical Transactions_ in 1877.

In his diary, November 1878, George records, “Paper on tides ordered to
be printed.”  This refers to his work, “On the bodily tides of viscous
and semi-elastic spheroids, etc.,” published in the _Phil. Trans._ in
1879.  It was in regard to this paper that his father wrote to George on
October 29th, 1878: {164b}

    My dear old George,

    I have been quite delighted with your letter and read it all with
    eagerness.  You were very good to write it.  All of us are delighted,
    for considering what a man Sir William Thomson is, it is most grand
    that you should have staggered him so quickly, and that he should
    speak of your ‘discovery, etc.’ . . .  Hurrah for the bowels of the
    earth and their viscosity, and for the moon and for the Heavenly
    bodies, and for my son George (F.R.S. very soon). . . . {165a}

The bond of pupil and master between George Darwin and Lord Kelvin,
originating in the years 1877–8, was to be a permanent one, and
developed, not merely into scientific co-operation, but into a close
friendship.  Sir Joseph Larmor has recorded {165b} that George’s “tribute
to Lord Kelvin, to whom he dedicated Volume I of his Collected Papers
{165c} . . . gave lively pleasure to his master and colleague.”  His
words were:

    Early in my scientific career it was my good fortune to be brought
    into close personal relationship with Lord Kelvin.  Many visits to
    Glasgow and to Largs have brought me to look up to him as my master,
    and I cannot find words to express how much I owe to his friendship
    and to his inspiration.

During these years there is evidence that he continued to enjoy the
friendship of Lord Rayleigh and of Mr. Balfour.  We find in his diary
records of visits to Terling and to Whittingehame, or of luncheons at Mr.
Balfour’s house in Carlton Gardens, for which George’s scientific
committee work in London gave frequent opportunity.  In the same way
there are many records of visits to Francis Galton, with whom he was
united alike by kinship and affection.

Few people indeed can have taken more pains to cultivate friendship than
did George.  This trait was the product of his affectionate and eminently
sociable nature, and of his characteristic energy and activity.  In
earlier life he travelled a good deal in search of health, {166} and in
after years he attended numerous congresses as a representative of
scientific bodies.  He thus had unusual opportunities of making the
acquaintance of men of other nationalities, and some of his warmest
friendships were with foreigners.  In passing through Paris he rarely
failed to visit M. and Mme d’Estournelles and “the d’Abbadies.”  It was
in Algiers in 1878 and 1879 that he cemented his friendship with the late
J. F. MacLennan, author of _Primitive Marriage_; and in 1880 he was at
Davos with the same friends.  In 1881 he went to Madeira, where he
received much kindness from the Blandy family—doubtless through the
recommendation of Lady Kelvin.


We have seen that George was elected a Fellow of Trinity in October 1868,
and that five years later (October 1873) he began his second lease of a
Cambridge existence.  There is at first little to record: he held at this
time no official position, and when his Fellowship expired he continued
to live in College, busy with his research work, and laying down the
earlier tiers of the monumental series of papers which he gave to the
world.  This soon led to his being proposed (in November 1877) for the
Royal Society, and elected in June 1879.  The principal event in this
stage of his Cambridge life was his election in 1883 as Plumian Professor
of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy. {167}  His predecessor in the
Chair was Professor Challis, who had held office since 1836, and is now
chiefly remembered in connection with Adams and the planet Neptune.  The
professorship is not necessarily connected with the Observatory, and
practical astronomy formed no part of George’s duties.  His lectures
being on advanced mathematics usually attracted but few students; in the
Long Vacation, however, when he habitually gave one of his courses, there
was often a fairly large class.  George’s relations with his class have
been sympathetically treated by Professor E. W. Brown, {168} than whom no
one can speak with more authority, since he was one of my brother’s
favourite pupils.

In the late ’70’s George began to be appointed to various University
Boards and Syndicates.  Thus from 1878–82 he was on the Museums and
Lecture Rooms Syndicate.  In 1879 he was placed on the Observatory
Syndicate, of which he became an official member in 1883 on his election
to the Plumian Professorship.  In the same way he was on the Special
Board for Mathematics.  He was a member of the Financial Board from
1900–1 to 1903–4, and on the Council of the Senate in 1905–6 and 1908–9.
But he never became a professional syndic—one of those virtuous persons
who spend their lives in University affairs.  In his obituary of George
(_Nature_, December 12, 1912), Sir Joseph Larmor writes:

    In the affairs of the University, of which he was an ornament, Sir
    George Darwin made a substantial mark, though it cannot be said that
    he possessed the patience in discussion that is sometimes a necessary
    condition to taking a share in its administration.  But his wide
    acquaintance and friendships among the statesmen and men of affairs
    of the time, dating often from undergraduate days, gave him openings
    for usefulness on a wider plane.  Thus, at a time when residents were
    bewailing even more than usual the inadequacy of the resources of the
    University for the great expansion which the scientific progress of
    the age demanded, it was largely on his initiative that, by a
    departure from all precedent, an unofficial body was constituted in
    1899 under the name of the Cambridge University Association, to
    promote the further endowment of the University by interesting its
    graduates throughout the Empire in its progress and its more pressing
    needs.  This important body, which was organised under the strong
    lead of the late Duke of Devonshire, then Chancellor, comprises as
    active members most of the public men who owe allegiance to
    Cambridge, and has already by its interest and help powerfully
    stimulated the expansion of the University into new fields of
    national work, though it has not yet achieved financial support on
    anything like the scale to which American seats of learning are

The Master of Christ’s writes:

                             _May_ 31_st_, 1915.

    My impression is that George did not take very much interest in the
    petty details which are so beloved by a certain type of University
    authority.  ‘Comma hunting’ and such things were not to his taste,
    and at meetings he was often rather distrait, but when anything of
    real importance came up he was of extraordinary use.  He was
    especially good at drafting letters, and over anything that he
    thought promoted the advancement of the University along the right
    lines he would take endless trouble—writing and re-writing reports
    and letters till he got them to his taste.  The sort of movements
    which interested him most were those which connected Cambridge with
    the outside world.  He was especially interested in the Appointments
    Board.  A good many of us constantly sought his advice, and nearly
    always took it: but, as I say, I do not think he cared much about the
    ‘parish pump,’ and was usually worried at long meetings.

Professor Newall has also been good enough to give me his impressions:

    His weight in the committees on which I have had personal experience
    of his influence seems to me to have depended in large measure on his
    realising very clearly the distinction between the importance of ends
    to be aimed at and the difficulty of harmonising the personal
    characteristics of the men who might be involved in the work needed
    to attain the ends.  The ends he always took seriously—the crotchets
    he often took humorously, to the great easement of many situations
    that are liable to arise on a committee.  I can imagine that to those
    who had corns his direct progress may at times have seemed
    unsympathetic and hasty.  He was ready to take much trouble in
    formulating statements of business with great precision—a result
    doubtless of his early legal experiences.  I recall how he would say,
    “If a thing has to be done, the minute should if possible make some
    individual responsible for doing it.”  He would ask, “Who is going to
    do the work?  If a man has to take the responsibility, we must do
    what we can to help him, and not hamper him by unnecessary
    restrictions and criticisms.”  His helpfulness came from his
    quickness in seizing the important point and his readiness to take
    endless trouble in the important work of looking into details before
    and after the meetings.  The amount of work that he did in response
    to the requirements of various Committees was very great, and it was
    curious to realise in how many cases he seemed to have diffidence as
    to the value of his contributions.

But on the whole, the work which he was able to carry out, in addition to
professional duties and research, was in matters of general importance
unconnected with the University.  To these we shall return.

In 1884 he became engaged to Miss Maud Du Puy of Philadelphia.  She came
of an old Huguenot stock, descending from Dr. John Du Puy, who was born
in France in 1679, and settled in New York in 1713.  They were married on
July 22nd, 1884, and this event happily coloured the remainder of
George’s life.  As time went on, and existence became fuller and busier,
she was able by her never-failing devotion to shield him from fatigue and
anxiety.  In this way he was helped and protected in the various
semi-public functions in which he took a principal part.  Nor was her
help valued only on these occasions, for indeed the comfort and happiness
of every day was in her charge.  There is a charming letter {171} from
George’s mother, dated April 15th, 1884:

    Maud had to put on her wedding-dress in order to say at the
    Custom-house in America that she had worn it, so we asked her to come
    down and show it to us.  She came down with great simplicity and
    quietness . . . only really pleased at its being admired and at
    looking pretty herself, which was strikingly the case.  She was a
    little shy at coming in, and sent in Mrs. Jebb to ask George to come
    out and see it first and bring her in.  It was handsome and simple.
    I like seeing George so frivolous, so deeply interested in which
    diamond trinket should be my present, and in her new Paris morning
    dress, in which he felt quite unfit to walk with her.

Later, probably in June, George’s mother wrote {172a} to Miss Du Puy,
“Your visit here was a great happiness to me, as something in you (I
don’t know what) made me feel sure you would always be sweet and kind to
George when he is ill and uncomfortable.”  These simple and touching
words may be taken as a true forecast of his happy married life.

In March 1885 George acquired by purchase the house Newnham Grange,
{172b} which remained his home to the end of his life.  It stands at the
southern end of the ‘Backs,’ within a few yards of the river where it
bends eastward in flowing from the upper to the lower of the two Newnham
water-mills.  I remember forebodings as to dampness, but they proved
wrong—even the cellars being remarkably dry.  The house is built of faded
yellowish bricks, with old tiles on the roof, and has a pleasant
home-like air.  It was formerly the house of the Beales family, {173a}
one of the old merchant stocks of Cambridge.  This fact accounts for the
great barn-like granaries which occupied much of the plot near the high
road.  These buildings were in part pulled down, thus making room for a
lawn tennis court, while what was not demolished made a gallery looking
on the court, as well as play-room for the children.  At the eastern end
of the property a cottage and part of the granaries were converted into a
small house of an attractively individual character, for which I think
tenants have hitherto been easily found among personal friends.  One of
the most pleasant features of the Grange was the flower-garden and
rockery on the other side of the river, reached by a wooden bridge and
called “the Little Island.” {173b}  The house is conveniently close to
the town, yet has a most pleasant outlook, to the north over the Backs
while there is the river and the Fen to the south.  The children had a
den or house in the branches of a large copper beech tree overhanging the
river.  They were allowed to use the boat, which was known as the
_Griffin_, from the family crest with which it was adorned.  None of them
were drowned, though accidents were not unknown; in one of these an
eminent lady and well-known writer, who was inveigled on to the river by
the children, had to wade to shore near Silver Street bridge owing to the
boat running aground.

The Darwins had five children, of whom one died an infant: of the others,
Charles Galton Darwin has inherited much of his father’s mathematical
ability, and has been elected to a Mathematical Lectureship at Christ’s
College.  He is now in the Army, and employed in research work in France.
The younger son, William, has a commission in the 18th Battalion of the
Durham Light Infantry, and is now working with his brother.  George’s
elder daughter is married to Monsieur Jacques Raverat.  Her skill as an
artist has perhaps its hereditary root in her father’s draughtsmanship.
The younger daughter, Margaret, is married to Mr. Geoffrey Keynes.

George’s relations with his family were most happy.  His diary never
fails to record the dates on which the children came home, or the black
days which took them to school.  There are constantly recurring entries
in his diary of visits to the boys at Marlborough or Winchester, or of
the journeys to arrange for the schooling of the girls in England or
abroad.  The parents took pains that their children should have
opportunities of learning conversational French and German.

George’s characteristic energy showed itself not only in these ways but
also in devising bicycling expeditions and informal picnics for the whole
family, to the Fleam Dyke, to Whittlesford, or other pleasant spots near
home; and these excursions he enjoyed as much as anyone of the party.  As
he always wished to have his children with him, one or more generally
accompanied him and his wife when they attended congresses or other
scientific gatherings abroad.

His house was the scene of many Christmas dinners, the first of which I
find any record being in 1886.  These meetings were often made an
occasion for plays acted by the children; of these the most celebrated
was a Cambridge version of _Romeo and Juliet_, in which the hero and
heroine were scions of the rival factions of Trinity and St. John’s.

Games and Pastimes.

As an undergraduate George played tennis—not the modern out-door game,
but that regal pursuit which is sometimes known as the game of kings and
otherwise as the king of games.  When George came up as an undergraduate
there were two tennis courts in Cambridge, one in the East Road, the
other being the ancient one that gave its name to Tennis Court Road, and
was pulled down to make room for the new buildings of Pembroke.  In this
way was destroyed the last of the College tennis courts of which we read
in Mr. Clark’s _History_.  I think George must have had pleasure in the
obvious development of the tennis court from some primæval farm-yard in
which the _pent-house_ was the roof of a shed, and the _grille_ a real
window or half-door.  To one brought up on evolution there is also a
satisfaction about the French terminology which survives in _e.g._ the
_Tambour_ and the _Dedans_.  George put much thought into acquiring a
correct style of play; for in tennis there is a religion of attitude
corresponding to that which painfully regulates the life of the golfer.
He became a good tennis player as an undergraduate, and was in the
running for a place in the inter-University match.  The marker at the
Pembroke court was Henry Harradine, whom we all sincerely liked and
respected, but he was not a good teacher, and it was only when George
came under Henry’s sons, John and Jim Harradine, at the Trinity and Clare
court, that his game began to improve.  He continued to play tennis for
some years, and only gave it up after a blow from a tennis ball in
January 1895 had almost destroyed the sight of his left eye.

In 1910 he took up archery, and zealously set himself to acquire the
correct mode of standing, the position of the head and hands, etc.  He
kept an archery diary in which each day’s shooting is carefully analysed
and the results given in percentages.  In 1911 he shot on 131 days: the
last occasion on which he took out his bow was September 13, 1912.

I am indebted to Mr. H. Sherlock, who often shot with him at Cambridge,
for his impressions.  He writes: “I shot a good deal with your brother
the year before his death; he was very keen on the sport, methodical and
painstaking, and paid great attention to style, and as he had a good
natural ‘loose,’ which is very difficult to acquire, there is little
doubt (notwithstanding that he came to archery rather late in life) that
had he lived he would have been above the average of the men who shoot
fairly regularly at the public meetings.”  After my brother’s death Mr.
Sherlock was good enough to look at George’s archery note-book.  “I then
saw,” he writes, “that he had analysed them in a way which, so far as I
am aware, had never been done before.”  Mr. Sherlock has given examples
of the method in a sympathetic obituary published (p. 273)in _The
Archer’s Register_. {177}  George’s point was that the traditional method
of scoring is not fair in regard to the areas of the coloured rings of
the target.  Mr. Sherlock records in his _Notice_ that George joined the
Royal Toxophilite Society in 1912, and occasionally shot in the Regent’s
Park.  In 1912 he won the Norton Cup and Medal (144 arrows at 120 yards.)

There was a billiard table at Down, and George learned to play fairly
well, though he had no pretension to real proficiency.  He used to play
at the Athenaeum, and in 1911 we find him playing there in the Billiard
Handicap, but a week later he records in his diary that he was “knocked

Scientific Committees.

George served for many years on the Solar Physics Committee and on the
Meteorological Council.  With regard to the latter, Sir Napier Shaw has
at my request given me his impressions: {178}

    It was in February 1885, upon the retirement of Warren De la Rue,
    that your brother George, by appointment of the Royal Society, joined
    the governing body of the Meteorological Office, at that time the
    Meteorological Council.  He remained a member until the end of the
    Council in 1905, and thereafter, until his death, he was one of the
    two nominees of the Royal Society upon the Meteorological Committee,
    the new body which was appointed by the Treasury to take over the
    control of the administration of the Office. . . .

    The Commissioners, collectively known as the Meteorological Council,
    were a remarkably distinguished body of Fellows of the Royal Society,
    and when Darwin took the place of De la Rue, the members were men
    subsequently famous, as Sir Richard Strachey, Sir William Wharton,
    Sir George Stokes, Sir Francis Galton, Sir George Darwin, with E. J.
    Stone, a former Astronomer Royal for the Cape. . . .

    I do not think that Darwin addressed himself spontaneously to
    meteorological problems, but he was always ready to help.  He was
    very regular in his attendance at Council, and the minutes show that
    after Stokes retired, all questions involving physical measurement or
    mathematical reasoning were referred to him.  There is a short and
    very characteristic report from him on the work of the harmonic
    analyser, and a considerable number upon researches by Mr. Dines or
    Sir G. Stokes on anemometers.  It is hardly possible to exaggerate
    his aptitude for work of that kind.  He could take a real interest in
    things that were not his own.  He was full of sympathy and
    appreciation for efforts of all kinds, especially those of young men,
    and at the same time, using his wide experience, he was perfectly
    frank and fearless not only in his judgment but also in the
    expression of it.  He gave one the impression of just protecting
    himself from boredom by habitual loyalty and a finely tempered sense
    of duty.  My earliest recollection of him on the Council is the
    thrilling production of a new version of the Annual Report of the
    Council which he had written because the original had become more
    completely ‘scissors and paste’ than he could endure.

    After the Office came into my charge in 1900, so long as he lived I
    never thought of taking any serious step without first consulting
    him, and he was always willing to help by his advice, by his personal
    influence and by his special knowledge.  For the first six years of
    the time I held a college fellowship, with the peculiar condition of
    four public lectures in the University each year and no emolument.
    One year, when I was rather overdone, Darwin took the course for me,
    and devoted the lectures to Dynamical Meteorology.  I believe he got
    it up for the occasion, for he professed the utmost diffidence about
    it, but the progress which we have made in recent years in that
    subject dates from those lectures and the correspondence which arose
    upon them.

    In Council it was the established practice to proceed by agreement
    and not by voting; he had a wonderful way of bringing a discussion to
    a head by courageously ‘voicing’ the conclusion to which it led, and
    frankly expressing the general opinion without hurting anybody’s
    feelings. . . .

    It is not easy to give expression to the powerful influence which he
    exercised upon all departments of official meteorology without making
    formal contributions to meteorological literature.  He gave me a note
    on a curious point in the evaluation of the velocity equivalents of
    the Beaufort Scale, which is published in the Office Memoirs No. 180,
    and that is all I have to show in print, but he was in and behind
    everything that was done, and personally, I need hardly add, I owe to
    him much more than this or any other letter can fully express.

On May 6, 1904, the year of the South African meeting, he was elected
President of the British Association.

On July 29, 1905, he embarked with his wife and his son Charles, and
arrived on August 15 at the Cape, where he gave the first part of his
Presidential Address.  Here he had the pleasure of finding as Governor,
Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, whom he had known as a Trinity undergraduate.
He was the guest of the late Sir David Gill, who remained a close friend
for the rest of his life.  George’s diary gives his itinerary—which shows
the trying amount of travel that he went through.  A sample may be

    August        19      Embark,
      ,,          22      Arrive at Durban,
      ,,          23      Mount Edgecombe,
      ,,          24      Pietermaritzburg,
      ,,          26      Colenso,
      ,,          27      Ladysmith,
      ,,          28      Johannesburg.

At Johannesburg he gave the second half of his Address.  Then on by
Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Bulawayo, to the Victoria Falls, where a bridge
had to be opened.  Then to Portuguese Africa on September 16, 17, where
he made speeches in French and English.  Finally he arrived at Suez on
October 4, and got home October 18.

It was generally agreed that his Presidentship was a conspicuous success.
The following appreciation is from the obituary notice in _The
Observatory_, January 1913, p. 58:

    The Association visited a dozen towns, and at each halt its President
    addressed an audience partly new, and partly composed of people who
    had been travelling with him for many weeks.  At each place this
    latter section heard with admiration a treatment of his subject
    wholly fresh and exactly adapted to the locality.

Such duties are always trying, and it should not be forgotten that tact
was necessary in a country which only two years before was still in the
throes of war.

In the autumn he received the honour of being made a K.C.B.  The
distinction was doubly valued as being announced to him by his friend Mr.
Balfour, then Prime Minister.

From 1899 to 1900 he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society.
One of his last Presidential acts was the presentation of the Society’s
Medal to his friend M. Poincaré.

He had the unusual distinction of serving twice as President of the
Cambridge Philosophical Society, once in 1890–92 and again 1911–12.

In 1891 he gave the Bakerian Lecture {182a} of the Royal Society, his
subject being “Tidal Prediction.”  This annual prælection dates from
1775, and the list of lecturers is a distinguished roll of names.

In 1897 he lectured at the Lowell Institute at Boston, and this was the
origin of his book on _Tides_, published in the following year.  Of this
Sir Joseph Larmor says {182b} that “it has taken rank with the
semi-popular writings of Helmholtz and Kelvin as a model of what is
possible in the exposition of a scientific subject.”  It has passed
through three English editions, and has been translated into many foreign

International Associations.

During the last ten or fifteen years of his life George was much occupied
with various International bodies, _e.g._ the International Geodetic
Association, the International Association of Academies, the
International Congress of Mathematicians, and the Seismological Congress.

With regard to the last named it was in consequence of George’s report to
the Royal Society that the British Government joined the Congress.  It
was however with the Geodetic Association that he was principally

Sir Joseph Larmor (_Nature_, December 12, 1912) gives the following
account of the origin of the Association:

    The earliest of topographic surveys, the model which other national
    surveys adopted and improved upon, was the Ordnance Survey of the
    United Kingdom.  But the great trigonometrical survey of India,
    started nearly a century ago, and steadily carried on since that time
    by officers of the Royal Engineers, is still the most important
    contribution to the science of the figure of the earth, though the
    vast geodetic operations in the United States are now following it
    closely.  The gravitational and other complexities incident on
    surveying among the great mountain masses of the Himalayas early
    demanded the highest mathematical assistance.  The problems
    originally attacked in India by Archdeacon Pratt were afterwards
    virtually taken over by the Royal Society, and its secretary, Sir
    George Stokes, of Cambridge, became from 1864 onwards the adviser and
    referee of the survey as regards its scientific enterprises.  On the
    retirement of Sir George Stokes this position fell very largely to
    Sir George Darwin, whose relations with the India Office on this and
    other affairs remained close, and very highly appreciated, throughout
    the rest of his life.

    The results of the Indian survey have been of the highest importance
    for the general science of geodesy. . . .  It came to be felt that
    closer co-operation between different countries was essential to
    practical progress and to coordination of the work of overlapping

For the further history of George’s connection with the Association, I am
indebted to the Secretary, Dr. van d. Sande Bakhuyzen.

    On the proposal of the Royal Society the British Government, after
    having consulted the Director of the Ordnance Survey, in 1898,
    resolved upon the adhesion of Great Britain to the International
    Geodetic Association, and appointed as its delegate, G. H. Darwin.
    By his former researches and by his high scientific character, he,
    more than any other, was entitled to this position, which would
    afford him an excellent opportunity of furthering, by his
    recommendations, the study of theoretical geodesy. . .

    We cannot relate in detail his valuable co-operation as a member of
    the Council in the various transactions of the Association, for
    instance, on the junction of the Russian and Indian triangulations
    through Pamir, but we must gratefully remember his great service to
    the Association when, at his invitation, the delegates met in 1909
    for the 16th General Conference in London and Cambridge.

    With the utmost care he prepared everything to render the Conference
    as interesting and agreeable as possible, and he fully succeeded.
    Through his courtesy the foreign delegates had the opportunity of
    making the personal acquaintance of several members of the Geodetic
    staff of England and its colonies, and of other scientific men, who
    were invited to take part in the Conference; and when after four
    meetings in London the delegates went to Cambridge to continue their
    work, they enjoyed the most cordial hospitality from Sir George and
    Lady Darwin, who, with her husband, procured them in Newnham Grange
    happy leisure hours between their scientific labours.

    At this conference Darwin delivered various reports, and at the
    discussion on Hecker’s determination of the variation of the vertical
    by the attraction of the moon and sun, he gave an interesting account
    of the researches on the same subject made by him and his brother
    Horace more than 20 years ago, which unfortunately failed from the
    bad conditions of the places of observation.

    In 1912 Sir George, though already over-fatigued by the preparations
    for the Mathematical Congress in Cambridge, and the exertions
    entailed by it, nevertheless prepared the different reports on the
    geodetic work in the British Empire, but, alas, his illness prevented
    him from assisting at the conference at Hamburg, where they were
    presented by other British delegates.  The conference thanked him,
    and sent him its best wishes, but at the end of the year the
    Association had to deplore the loss of the man who in theoretical
    geodesy as well as in other branches of mathematics and astronomy
    stood in the first rank, and who for his noble character was
    respected and beloved by all his colleagues in the International
    Geodetic Association.

Sir Joseph Larmor writes: {186}

    Sir George Darwin’s last public appearance was as president of the
    fifth International Congress of Mathematicians, which met at
    Cambridge on August 22–28, 1912.  The time for England to receive the
    congress having obviously arrived, a movement was initiated at
    Cambridge, with the concurrence of Oxford mathematicians, to send an
    invitation to the fourth congress held at Rome in 1908.  The proposal
    was cordially accepted, and Sir George Darwin, as _doyen_ of the
    mathematical school at Cambridge, became chairman of the organising
    committee, and was subsequently elected by the congress to be their
    president.  Though obviously unwell during part of the meeting, he
    managed to discharge the delicate duties of the chair with
    conspicuous success, and guided with great verve the deliberations of
    the final assembly of what turned out to be a most successful meeting
    of that important body.

Personal Characteristics.

His daughter, Madame Raverat, writes:

    I think most people might not realise that the sense of adventure and
    romance was the most important thing in my father’s life, except his
    love of work.  He thought about all life romantically, and his own
    life in particular; one could feel it in the quality of everything he
    said about himself.  Everything in the world was interesting and
    wonderful to him, and he had the power of making other people feel

    He had a passion for going everywhere and seeing everything; learning
    every language, knowing the technicalities of every trade; and all
    this emphatically _not_ from the scientific or collector’s point of
    view, but from a deep sense of the romance and interest of
    everything.  It was splendid to travel with him; he always learned as
    much as possible of the language, and talked to everyone; we had to
    see simply everything there was to be seen, and it was all
    interesting, like an adventure.  For instance, at Vienna I remember
    being taken to a most improper music hall, and at Schönbrunn hearing
    from an old forester the whole secret history of the old Emperor’s
    son.  My father would tell us the stories of the places we went to
    with an incomparable conviction and sense of the reality and
    dramaticness of the events.  It is absurd, of course, but in that
    respect he always seemed to me a little like Sir Walter Scott. {187}

    The books he used to read to us when we were quite small, and which
    we adored, were Percy’s _Reliques_ and the _Prologue to the
    __Canterbury Tales_.  He used often to read Shakespeare to himself, I
    think generally the historical plays; also Chaucer, _Don Quixote_ in
    Spanish, and all kind of books like Joinville’s _Life of St. Louis_
    in the old French.

    I remember the story of the death of Gordon told so that we all
    cried, I think; and Gladstone could hardly be mentioned in
    consequence.  All kinds of wars and battles interested him, and I
    think he liked archery more because it was romantic than because it
    was a game.

    During his last illness his interest in the Balkan war never failed.
    Three weeks before his death he was so ill that the doctor thought
    him dying.  Suddenly he rallied from the half-unconscious state in
    which he had been lying for many hours, and the first words he spoke
    on opening his eyes were, “Have they got to Constantinople yet?”
    This was very characteristic.  I often wish he was alive now, because
    his understanding and appreciation of the glory and tragedy of this
    war would be like no one else’s.

His daughter Margaret writes:

    He was absolutely unselfconscious, and it never seemed to occur to
    him to wonder what impression he was making on others.  I think it
    was this simplicity which made him so good with children.  He seemed
    to understand their point of view, and to enjoy with them in a way
    that is not common with grown-up people.  I shall never forget how
    when our dog had to be killed he seemed to feel the horror of it just
    as I did, and how this sense of his really sharing my grief made him
    able to comfort me as nobody else could.

    He took a transparent pleasure in the honours that came to him,
    especially in his membership of foreign Academies, in which he and
    Sir David Gill had a friendly rivalry or “race,” as they called it.
    I think this simplicity was one of his chief characteristics, though
    most important of all was the great warmth and width of his
    affections.  He would take endless trouble about his friends,
    especially in going to see them if they were lonely or ill; and he
    was absolutely faithful and generous in his love.

After his mother came to live in Cambridge I believe he hardly ever
missed a day in going to see her, even though he might only be able to
stay a few minutes.  She lived at some distance off, and he was often
both busy and tired.  This constancy was very characteristic.  It was
shown once more in his many visits to Jim Harradine, the marker at the
tennis court, on what proved to be his death-bed.

His energy and his kindness of heart were shown in many cases of
distress.  For instance, a guard on the Great Northern Railway was robbed
of his savings by an absconding solicitor, and George succeeded in
collecting some £300 for him.  In later years, when his friend the guard
became bedridden, George often went to see him.  Another man whom he
befriended was a one-legged man at Balsham, whom he happened to notice in
bicycling past.  He took the trouble to see the village authorities, and
succeeded in sending the man to London to be fitted with an artificial

In these and similar cases there was always the touch of personal
sympathy.  For instance, he pensioned the widow of his gardener, and he
often made the payment of her weekly allowance the excuse for a visit.

In another sort of charity he was equally kindhearted, viz., in answering
the people who wrote foolish letters to him on scientific subjects—and
here as in many points he resembled his father.

His sister, Mrs. Litchfield, has truly said {190} of George, that he
inherited his father’s power of work and much of his “cordiality and
warmth of nature, with a characteristic power of helping others.”  He
resembled his father in another quality, that of modesty.  His friend and
pupil, Professor E. W. Brown, writes:

    He was always modest about the importance of his researches.  He
    would often wonder whether the results were worth the labour they had
    cost him, and whether he would have been better employed in some
    other way.

His nephew Bernard, speaking of George’s way of taking pains to be
friendly and forthcoming to anyone with whom he came in contact, says:

    He was ready to take other people’s pleasantness and politeness at
    its apparent value and not to discount it.  If they seemed glad to
    see him, he believed that they _were_ glad.  If he liked somebody, he
    believed that the somebody liked him, and did not worry himself by
    wondering whether they really did like him.

Of his energy we have evidence in the _amount_ of material contained in
his collected works.  There was nothing dilatory about him, and here he
again resembled his father, who had markedly the power of doing things at
the right moment, and thus avoiding waste of time and discomfort to
others.  George had none of a characteristic which was defined in the
case of Henry Bradshaw, as “always doing something else.”  After an
interruption he could instantly reabsorb himself in his work, so that his
study was not kept as a place sacred to peace and quiet.

His wife is my authority for saying that although he got so much done, it
was not by working long hours.  Moreover, the days that he was away from
home made large gaps in his opportunities for steady application.  His
diaries show in another way that his researches by no means took all his
time.  He made a note of the books he read, and these make a considerable
record.  Although he read much good literature with honest enjoyment, he
had not a delicate or subtle literary judgment.  Nor did he care for
music.  He was interested in travels, history, and biography, and as he
could remember what he read or heard, his knowledge was wide in many
directions.  His linguistic power was characteristic.  He read many
European languages.  I remember his translating a long Swedish paper for
my father.  And he took pleasure in the Platt Deutsch stories of Fritz

The discomfort from which he suffered during the meeting at Cambridge of
the International Congress of Mathematicians in August 1912 was, in fact,
the beginning of his last illness.  An exploratory operation showed that
he was suffering from malignant disease.  Happily he was spared the pain
that gives its terror to this malady.  His nature was, as we have seen,
simple and direct, with a pleasant residue of the innocence and eagerness
of childhood.  In the manner of his death these qualities were ennobled
by an admirable and most unselfish courage.  As his vitality ebbed away
his affection only showed the stronger.  He wished to live, and he felt
that his power of work and his enjoyment of life were as strong as ever,
but his resignation to the sudden end was complete and beautiful.  He
died on December 7, 1912, and was buried at Trumpington.


_Order_.  K.C.B.  1905.

_Medals_. {192a}

1883.  Telford Medal of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

1884.  Royal Medal. {192b}

1892.  Royal Astronomical Society’s Medal.

1911.  Copley Medal of the Royal Society.

1912.  Royal Geographical Society’s Medal.


Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Plumian Professor in the

Vice-President of the International Geodetic Association, Lowell Lecturer
at Boston U.S. (1897).

Member of the Meteorological and Solar Physics Committees.

Past President of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, {193} Royal
Astronomical Society, British Association.

_Doctorates_, _etc._, _of Universities_.

Oxford, Dublin, Glasgow, Pennsylvania, Padua (Socio onorario), Göttingen,
Christiania, Cape of Good Hope, Moscow (honorary member).

_Foreign or Honorary Membership of Academies_, _etc._

Amsterdam (Netherlands Academy), Boston (American Academy), Brussels
(Royal Society), Calcutta (Math. Soc.), Dublin (Royal Irish Academy),
Edinburgh (Royal Society), Halle (K. Leop.-Carol. Acad.), Kharkov (Math.
Soc.), Mexico (Soc. “Antonio Alzate”), Moscow (Imperial Society of the
Friends of Science), New York, Padua, Philadelphia (Philosophical
Society), Rome (Lincei), Stockholm (Swedish Academy), Toronto (Physical
Society), Washington (National Academy), Wellington (New Zealand Inst.).

_Correspondent of Academies_, _etc._, _at_

Acireale (Zelanti), Berlin (Prussian Academy), Buda Pest (Hungarian
Academy), Frankfort (Senckenberg. Natur. Gesell.), Göttingen (Royal
Society), Paris, St. Petersburg, Turin, Istuto Veneto, Vienna. {194}


                            DECEMBER 21, 1914

According to the _Dictionary of Music_ {195} the military march is meant
“not only to stimulate courage but also to ensure the orderly advance of
troops.”  In other words, military music serves to incite and to regulate
movement.  But these cannot always be discriminated.  The tramp tramp of
marching soldiers is ordered by the rhythm of the band.  This is obvious,
but we cannot say how far the bravery of the tune puts strength into
tired legs, and this would be incitement,—and how far it is the
unappeasable rhythm that forces the men to keep going, and this may
perhaps be called regulation.  There are occasions when the trumpet comes
as a signal to troops waiting to make some sublime effort, and where the
fierce imperious sound has a lift and a sting which perhaps no
pre-concerted signal of a weaker type could give.  This is an example of
incitement, but in as much as it determines the moment of attack it is
also a regulating agent.

Marching is still of importance,—in spite of the part taken by railways
in modern strategy.  I should like to know whether the magnificent
marches of the Russians are made to the accompaniment of a band or of the
regimental choir.  One sees in our volunteer army the tendency to sing on
the march.  But it must be allowed that neither words or tunes are
particularly inspiring.  The Englishman is habitually afraid of being
solemn, and though his marching songs may contain good things they are
apt to be treated in a light spirit.  There is one which includes the
words, “Rule, Rule, Britannia!” and “God Save the Queen!” but these
famous phrases serve as chorus to lighthearted fragments, _e.g._ nursery
rhymes, such as “Little Miss Muffett.”  I regret to add that even this
classic is not respectfully used.  It should run, “There came a great
spider and sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffett away.”  I
forget the precise words of the parody, except its ending, “And Little
Miss Muffett said, ‘Bother the creature!’”  I still remember the fine
effect of German soldiers heard many years ago singing the “Wacht am
Rhein” on the march.  Once, too, I listened to Zouaves, and no greater
contrast can be imagined.  It was hardly more than a murmur, a chatter of
diverse scraps, and had no inspiring effect.  These magnificent troops
may need no artificial stimulus, but ordinary folk are certainly kept
going by martial music.  I remember, as a boy, marching to the tune of
the “British Grenadiers,” which has foolish words, and is not striking
from a musical point of view, but it seemed to take us along.  This
march-tune comes in finely in Rudyard Kipling’s story of the _Drums of
the Fore and Aft_.  An untried British regiment is cut up by Afghans and
retires in a helter-skelter rush, leaving behind two boys of the Band,
who strike up the “British Grenadiers” with the solitary squeak of a fife
and the despairing roll of a drum.  The answer comes in a great cheer
from the Highlanders and Gurkas waiting on the heights, and in a charge
that turns defeat into victory.  I wish that Kipling had allowed the boys
to survive, but the tragedy of their death is after all the effective
close.  To return to marching-tunes.  For average people all that is
needed is a well marked rhythm: “John Brown’s body,” etc., is an
admirable march, though taken from its context of tramping soldiers it is
hardly a fine tune.  But so far as words are concerned it must be allowed
that the refrain, “His soul goes marching along,” is in the right mood
for a war song.

It may be objected that if all I want is rhythm I should be satisfied
with instruments of percussion alone.  To this I reply that the effect of
drums is splendidly martial.  I was at Aix at the outbreak of the war,
and every day the regiment quartered there used to march out to the music
of drums, and of bugles which played simple tunes on the common chord.
When the buglers were out of breath, the drums thundered on with
magnificent fire, until once more the simple and spirited fanfare came in
with its brave out-of-doors flavour—a romantic dash of the hunting song,
and yet with something of the seriousness of battle.  And indeed this is
the sort of melody that suits the dauntless spirit of our allies.  As I
watched these men, so soon to fight for their country, I was reminded of
that white-faced boy pictured by Stevenson, striding over his dead
comrades, the roll of his drum leading the living to victory or death.
Drums are said (incorrectly I believe) to be made of donkey’s skin, and
Stevenson imagines how, after death, the poor beast takes this magical
revenge for the blows received in life, by leading cruel man to
destruction.  The old English military music seems to have been played by
drums alone.  King Charles I issued a warrant in the following words:
{198a} “Whereas . . . the March of this our nation so famous in all
honourable achievements and glorious warres of this our Kingdom in
forraigne parts was through the negligence and carelessness of drummers .
. . so altered and changed from the ancient gravity and majestic thereof
as it was in danger utterly to have been lost and forgotten. . . .”  He
therefore wills and commands drummers to play only what is recorded in
the curious old notation of that day.  It must be remembered that drums
and trumpets had something of the sacredness of Royalty in the 17th
century.  No one was allowed to play them in public without a license
from the Sergeant Trumpeter, {198b} an officer who certainly existed a
few years ago, and may, for all I know, still survive.  In the 17th
century it was a post of some dignity, and gave its holder the title of

During the great retreat in the winter of 1914 the effect of music was
magnificently illustrated.  Mr. Conan Doyle {199} writes, “Exhausted as
the troops were, there could he no halt or rest until they had extricated
themselves from the immediate danger.  At the last point of human
endurance they still staggered on through the evening and the night time,
amid roaring thunder and flashing lightning, down the St. Quentin road.
Many fell from fatigue, and having fallen continued to sleep. . . .  In
the case of some of the men the collapse was so complete that it was
almost impossible to get them on.  Major Tom Bridges, of the 4th Royal
Irish Dragoons being sent to round up and hurry forward 250 stragglers at
St. Quentin, found them nearly comatose with fatigue.  With quick wit he
bought a toy drum, and accompanied by a man with a penny whistle he fell
them in and marched them, laughing in all their misery, down the high
road towards Ham.”  When he stopped he found that the men stopped also,
so he was compelled to march and play the whole way to Roupy.

In Sir Henry Newbolt’s _Song of the Great Retreat_ (_The Times_, Dec. 16,
1914), this triumphant success is described:

    “Cheerly goes the dark road, cheerly goes the night,
    Cheerly goes the blood to keep the beat:
    Half a thousand dead men marching on to fight,
    With a little penny drum to lift their feet.”

This song ought to be especially interesting to our Society, because the
effect of a small drum and a penny whistle is roughly the same as that of
the pipe and tabor, and these are the traditional instruments for English
Folk Dances.  It is perhaps worth noting that they must in old days have
been used in war, for there is an illustration in an ancient manuscript
of a taborer piping at the head of a body of troops marching out from a

Man is a social animal, and his natural strength lies in community of
action with his fellows.  It is this which gives music its power over
masses of men, the pulsation of the drum, the blare of the answering
trumpets, or the strident voice of the bagpipe cry to them in tones which
cannot be misunderstood, binding them into a brotherhood of courage and
obedience.  But a society of Morris Dancers does not need to be reminded
of the noble effect of human movement controlled by music.  The word
‘caper’ has somewhat ridiculous associations, but we have learned to
respect it for what it implies: the finely ordered strenuous movement of
strong bodies leaping in rhythmic dance.  It suggests something pagan and
prehistoric, a physical religion of astonishing beauty.  Some of our
Morris men are now giving all the vigour of their young bodies to a great
and just cause.  Let us wish them a victorious home-coming.


It is not difficult to sympathise with what Dr. Birkbeck aimed at in
founding the College which bears his name.  His idea seems to have been,
that whatever a man’s calling may be, he is the better for accurate
knowledge of the things with which he deals.  This is a sufficiently
obvious statement.  But if for the word ‘accurate’ we substitute
‘scientific,’ it is no longer a platitude—at least it is not so in the
ears of the semi-educated.  For we can still find people who believe in
the “practical man” as opposed to one whom they probably call a
scientist.  One would like to know more of the conception of science
formed by the unscientific.  They are probably unaware that science is
eminently practical in asserting that only to be true which rests on wide
and accurate generalisation.  It is also practical wisdom to hold, as
science does, that truth is temporary and relative, and is in fact merely
the best conclusion that can be drawn in the present state of knowledge.
To many people science is wearisome and somewhat ridiculous, and these
qualities appear in the naturalist of fiction.  Thus when even George
Eliot draws a coleopterist, he is made a feeble old man shuffling to and
fro among his ridiculous beetles.  And on the French stage I have seen a
botanist treated in the same spirit.

Positiveness and bumptiousness are also supposed to be our attributes.
In the ‘New Republic’ the characters said to represent Huxley and
Clifford are completely disguised by their pompous pretentiousness.

It is not difficult to describe the ideals of science, but it is only too
easy to fall short of them.  It is easy for instance to become a
sectarian, to belong to a school, and to be literally incapable of
fairness towards the opposition.  This was plainly seen at the incoming
of evolution, and it was one of the many glories of Sir Charles Lyell
that he could accept the ‘Origin of Species,’ and that, in the words of
Hooker, he could under-pin his work with an evolutionary foundation and
find his edifice stronger than ever.  But we need not consider the
battles of giants; we are much more likely to be concerned with the
mentally dwarfed or deformed—with the dangerous man who makes positive
statements on insufficient data, or suffers from that other vice of not
being able to confess ignorance.  The only lectures which impressed me,
as an undergraduate at Cambridge, were those of the late Sir George
Humphry; and his most striking words were confessions of complete
ignorance about many parts of physiology.  Here is an instance of an
opposite state of things, of a want of courage.  An eminent chemist was
asked why common salt thrown on the fire gives a blue flame.  Now the
chemist was a German, and having been brought up in that land of stoves,
probably had not performed an experiment so easily made in the home of
open fires.  So he rashly answered, “It does not burn blue, it is
impossible, sodium-salts give a yellow flame.”  On this my friend fetched
the salt and threw a handful on to the glowing coals—with the result that
the eminent chemist rose up and fled in silence from the room.  He gave
an admirable example of how not to behave.  He ought not in the first
place to have denied the fact _a priori_, and when he was convicted he
should have been glad to learn.

It has been said that in scientific work accuracy is the most valuable
quality and the hardest to attain.  Accuracy alone may strike us as a
dull quality to be so highly rated.  When a given result has been
obtained in eleven successive experiments, and fails on the twelfth
occasion, it is the accurate-minded man who makes a wise use of the
failure.  It ought to arouse in us a flame of curiosity, lighting in us a
whole posse of theories, which force us to vary our procedure and finally
enable us to solve the difficulty.

Most of us are inclined to treat an unexpected result in a cavalier
spirit, pushing it aside as “only an exception,” whereas it should be
received as possibly a personage of distinction in disguise, and not as a
rude disturber of our pet ideas.

A class of experimentalists exists from whom we all suffer—namely, cooks.
How happy we should be if they possessed this lively desire to understand
their own lapses from good cookery!  It may be urged in excuse, that
although the essence of cooking is the application of heat to food, not
one cook in a thousand has a thermometer in her oven.  I hope that some
of the ladies who have in these laboratories learned to believe in
accuracy, will become missionaries among the ignorant and insist on this
simple reform.

There is a type of accuracy of a very different kind which may become an
actual vice.  For instance, the desire to weigh things to 1–10 mg. which
should only have been weighed to a centigram, measuring to 1–10 mm., and
calculating averages to several places of decimals.  In such a science as
Botany this may be positive waste of time.  Sachs, the great German
botanist, in whose laboratory I worked, was never tired of complaining of
this “sogenannte Genauigkeit,” (this so-called accuracy).  I am told that
Lord Rayleigh, whose physical inquiries demand in some cases excessive
and minute accuracy, has a wonderful instinct for knowing when and where
he may relax his methods.

I have been compelled to use the words ‘science’ and ‘scientific’ because
these terms have become firmly adherent to a group of subjects such as
Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Botany, etc., and cannot now be detached
from them.  Unfortunately ‘scientific’ is used in another sense as
implying accuracy of experimental method and in deduction from results.
So that in calling ourselves scientific men we run the risk of seeming to
claim a monopoly of method, as though we pretended to be somehow superior
to the trained workers in other branches.  The current use of the word
seems therefore to cast unjust suspicion on literature.  I wish that the
word _science_ could be restored to its original meaning of knowledge, or
the art of knowing; but words (like organisms) are evolved, and against
evolution the gods fight in vain.  In any case I hope it will be believed
that in speaking of knowledge I have taken instances from what is usually
called science, not out of disrespect to literature, but like Dr. Johnson
in a different affair—from ignorance.

I imagine Dr. Birkbeck to have had no idea that this institution would be
so extensively used for preparing people for examinations.  I doubt
whether he would have liked it, but respect to the pious memory of a
founder may be exaggerated, and since there is no getting rid of
examinations, the next best thing is to make the art of coaching as
little harmful as may be to pupil and teacher.  I do not mean to speak
slightingly of coaching as a whole, for a great deal of it is only a very
skilful way of imparting knowledge, but it will be allowed that some of
it is not educative in a broad sense.

You will remember that Mr. Brooke, in _Middlemarch_, was in the habit of
mildly investigating questions which he always threw over because he
foresaw they would “carry him too far.”  I confess to feeling very like
Mr. Brooke when I attempt to balance the interests of teacher and
student.  In that comfortable period, the 18th century, things were all
in favour of the teacher.  The poet Gray, who was Professor of History at
Cambridge, could never decide whether to lecture in Latin or English, and
ended by never lecturing at all.

It is now easier to find cases where the teacher is the victim and slave
of his pupils, and has no time or strength to continue his own education.

This has at least two bad results, and probably more than that number:
(1) From want of time for reading the teacher can hardly avoid falling
behind in a rapidly progressive subject such as one of the natural
sciences, and consequently the University or College that enslaves him is
injuring its own property.  (2) He has no time to do any original work,
and this is even worse for him (and therefore, as before, for the
College).  He ceases to be on intimate terms with the plants or animals
or chemical substances with which he has to deal, and his teaching must
necessarily lose that vigour and freshness that comes from first-hand
personal knowledge.  It is downright cruelty to deny time for research to
those who vehemently desire to add something to the fabric of human

The hampered teacher reminds me of a certain migratory bird living with
clipped wings in a Zoological Garden: when the migrating season came
round the unfortunate prisoner started to walk, and was to be seen
pressing its breast against the bars at the north end of its pen.  I hope
that nowadays all Colleges realise that they must not prison their birds,
but give them the means of satisfying their natural instinct for fresh
and self-gained knowledge.  The students are in one way better off than
their masters, since laboratory work is generally new to them and has
therefore some of the charm of discovery.

In what I have said to-night I have confined myself to Natural Science,
in which alone I have had experience of teaching or examining.  On the
literary side of things I am, I fear, a Philistine, or _enfant terrible_.
I belong to that class of persons (which has at least the merit of being
very large) who have hardly opened a Greek or Latin book since the day
they passed their Little-go.

I grudge the time that is given at school to making small boys groan over
books not well suited to them, while French and German are, or were in my
day, all but untaught.  If I had had good oral teaching in modern
languages (such, for instance, as that given at the Perse School in
Cambridge) I could forgive my teachers.  We should without tears have
learned to talk fluently and write correctly in at least one modern
language, and for the sake of this I could perhaps have borne the
weariness of Greek and Latin grammar.  If it were not for the tyranny of
examinations, classical teaching might be put to its proper use, which is
not to serve as an instrument of torture, but to enable us to read
ancient authors.

I would teach Latin and Greek only to older boys, and by the method in
which we all learn a modern language—that is when we have the advantage
of being at once teacher and learner.  I mean by reading quickly, with a
translation if necessary; at first without understanding half of what we
read, but gradually picking up words as we go along.  This is how I
learned to read easy Italian.  By the advice of the late Henry Sidgwick I
began on a bad Italian translation of a French novel, because such a
version, being full of French idioms more or less literally translated,
is easier than idiomatic Italian.  The right book to begin on is a good
murder story, such as one of Gaboriau’s, which are fortunately to be had
in bad Italian.  What would an old fashioned teacher of Greek and Latin
have said to this!  In my own case I feel that the _difficulty_ of
reading the classics was good discipline, and so far educational.  In
Henry Sidgwick’s method one is carried along by the detective business,
and learns Italian words as a child picks up its own language, by context
and re-iteration.  It will be said that this method is not applicable to
Latin and Greek, and that even if it were so, it would not be educative.
I confess I do not expect my words to sink into the hearts of the
teachers of what are unkindly called the dead languages.  The great
Moloch of examination has constantly to be supplied with human children,
to say nothing of grown-up people.  Some escape, but how many are reduced
to ashes?

I have said nothing about what should have been my theme, namely, the
beginning of the College year.  To my thinking beginnings have something
of the melancholy that seems more appropriate to endings.  Sad
associations tend to adhere to all that has the quality of periodicity.
I for one feel this when spring once more puts on the familiar look with
which our childhood and youth seemed to mingle on equal terms, but which
upbraids us now we are no longer young.

And in a more work-a-day spirit Monday morning is sad.  I think this is
so because the conception Next Week is full of the ghosts of dead
resolutions.  No doubt it was on Monday mornings that Mr. Shandy renewed
his vow to have the hinge of the parlour door mended, which I think
remained unrepaired to the end of the book.

But after all, this gloomy point of view belongs to the onlooker, not to
the actors in the rhythm of things.  Each particular Monday is a new-born
entity, and doubtless feels a pleasurable excitement in its brief life.
And to the actual snowdrops and winter aconites that pierce the cold
ground, spring is a new and glorious experience.  In this academic
springtime (which chances to occur in autumn) the onlooker need have no
morbid feelings, only perhaps a touch of envy of those whose College life
begins to-day.


To those who have never made experiments on plants it may seem that
‘picturesque’ is an odd term to apply to laboratory methods.  But to an
experimentalist the adjective does not seem overstrained.  There is not
merely the pleasure of seeing a prediction verified—that may be
experienced in more everyday matters.  There is a peculiar delight in the
discovery of a method of revealing some detail in the natural history of
living things.  I remember vividly the pleasure which I felt when I first
tried the experiment on _Sorghum_, described in the essay on the
Movements of Plants in this volume. {210}  I hoped that the seedlings
would curve in the elaborate manner shown in Fig. 4.  But I had so little
expectation of success that I did not explain the object of the trial to
my laboratory assistant, and it came as a shock of delight when he told
me that the seedlings had “curled up like corkscrews.”  I do not think
that it is an exaggeration to say, that this result is a picturesque
illustration of the distribution of gravitational sensitiveness in
plants.  The instances in the present essay are not concerned with the
movements of plants, and are so far less interesting, but I think the
reader will not refuse them the same adjective.

We all know that in plants—from the smallest weed to the giant trees of
America—there flows a stream of water from the root to the topmost leaf.
Nevertheless, it is an experience to have ocular proof of this
life-giving current.  A branch of laurel is so arranged that it has to
suck up the water it needs through a coarse thermometer tube, dipping
into a beaker.  The laurel does not wither, and we know therefore that it
is continuously supplied with water.  If the beaker is removed we shall
see the absorption, for the thermometer tube does not remain full of
water; a minute column of air is seen at its lower end which rapidly
increases in size, and finally when the tube is emptied of its
water-content, bubbles of air escape one after another into the larger
tube, which contains the cut end of the branch.  This, the simplest
possible experiment, is nevertheless a vivid ocular proof of the laurel’s
power of absorbing water.  It can be shown that the sucking power of the
branch depends on its leaves, for if these are removed the rate of the
current is very greatly diminished.  It can also be proved that it
depends on some quality of the leaf surface, for if a new specimen is
taken, and if the lower sides of its leaves are rubbed with vaseline, the
rate of absorption will be seen to diminish very greatly.  Greasing the
upper surface of the leaves does not produce this result, and when we
examine the two surfaces it is found that the lower one is riddled with
innumerable microscopic holes (stomata), while the upper side of the leaf
has no such apertures.  The stomata in fact are the arbiters of what
shall pass in or out of the body of the leaf; they are the gate-keepers
who regulate both export and import.  They are known by actual inspection
(with a microscope) to close at night: the result of this is that the
evaporation of the leaves is much slower at night, and this is true when
allowance has been made for the fact that evaporation is also checked at
night by the dampness of the air.

                     [Picture: Fig. 7. The Porometer]

The microscopical inspection of stomata is not a completely satisfactory
method of discovering to what degree they are open.  It has, however,
been my good fortune to resuscitate and simplify a method of studying the
stomatal condition.  The method was many years ago tried in a hopelessly
cumbersome form by a German, but never came into use.  My apparatus is
described in the _Proceedings of the Royal Society_, {212} and is known
as the Porometer.  Its essential part is shown in Fig. 7.  It consists of
a funnel-shaped tube, having a broad flange, which is cemented on to the
stomata-bearing surface of a leaf.  The leaf is represented by the
obliquely shaded object and is enormously magnified.  To the upper
orifice of the funnel is fixed a rubber tube, and by means of it steady
suction can be supplied.  The result is that a current of air is drawn
through the stomata into the leaf, and then out of the leaf into the
cavity of the porometer.  The rate of this current is an index of the
degree to which the stomata are open.  With this apparatus a number of
interesting points can be determined.

   [Picture: Fig. 8.  Curve of Porometer readings in light and darkness

Fig. 8 shows the effect of alternate periods of light and darkness.  The
fall of the curve represents partial closure, and is seen to occur in the
periods of darkness (black), and to rise when the plant is re-illumined.
These changes are necessarily accompanied by rise and fall in the
evaporation of the leaf, but into the question of the accuracy of this
correlation I shall not enter.

There are other methods of demonstrating the movements of the stomata.
Stahl had the happy inspiration of making use of the colour-changes of
cobalt chloride.  A piece of filter paper soaked in a 5 p.c. solution of
this salt is blue when dried, and turns pink in damp air.  A dry piece of
this material, applied with proper precaution to the stomata-bearing
surface of a leaf, rapidly changes to pink if the stomata are open.
When, however, the same trial is made on the upper surface of a leaf,
where stomata do not occur, no such change occurs.  If two leaves are
treated at the same time, one in the normal position and the other upside
down, it is delightful to watch the appearance of a pink picture of that
leaf whose stomatic surface is in contact with the paper, while no such
change takes place over that which exposes no stomata to the tell-tale
material.  Another method was discovered by the accident of finding in an
old house in Wales a Chinese figure of a man, cut out of a thin shaving
of horn, which writhed and twisted when placed on the hand.  It was
clearly very sensitive to moisture, and it seemed possible that
horn-shavings might be used to test the condition of the stomata.  The
first difficulty was to obtain a supply of this material.  Having
discovered from the P.O. Directory that there were two horn-pressers in
London I proceeded to visit one of them somewhere in Hoxton.  He turned
out to be of a highly suspicious disposition, but his wife had more
discernment, and persuaded him that I was a harmless customer, with no
designs on trade secrets, and I finally obtained what I wanted.  A
delicate strip of horn was fixed to a little block of cork and placed on
a leaf, and to my delight showed the stomata to be open by violently
curving upwards.  It was only necessary to fix a graduated arc to the
cork, and to fasten a delicate hair on to the horn so as to serve as
index.  The instrument is not of course accurately quantitative, but it
does at least show whether the stomata are nearly shut, moderately open,
or widely so.  Rough as it is I found it good enough for determining a
number of interesting facts in the physiology of stomata. {215a}

I now pass on to a different subject, the all-important process on which
the life of green plants depends, an act therefore by which our own
existence and that of all other animals is conditioned.  I mean the
process known as _assimilation_.  This is the truly miraculous feat of
using as a source of food the carbonic acid gas (CO2) which exists in
minute quantities in the atmosphere.  The plant is in fact a
carbon-catching machine, and the machine is driven by the energy of the
sun, and can therefore only work in light.  The eminent Russian botanist,
Timiriazeff, in a lecture on this subject {215b} before the Royal
Society, made a witty use of _Gulliver’s Travels_—a book not commonly
quoted as an authority in scientific matters.  He pointed out that the
philosophers of Lagado, who were extracting sun-beams from cucumbers,
were not doing anything absurd.  On the contrary, since the cucumbers had
been built with the help of sunshine, it was a reasonable expectation
that energy corresponding to the sunshine should be obtainable.  This
indeed is what we do when we drive a steam engine by burning coal which
ages ago was built by vegetable machinery driven by sunlight.

It is possible to show the existence of this process by very simple
experiments.  The most direct, but the least interesting, experiment is
to take two similar plants, and expose plant _A_ to an atmosphere
containing CO2 while _B_ is in air freed from that gas.  Both specimens
are placed in bright light, and after a sufficient interval of time their
leaves are tested for the presence of starch.  This is a simple matter;
the green colouring matter is washed out of them by means of alcohol, and
they are then placed in a dilute solution of iodine, which has the
property of staining starch purple.  It is always pleasant to see the
leaf that had been supplied with CO2 turn blue, while the starved leaf
remains a hungry yellow.

Some of the prettiest methods of demonstrating this process depend, not
on the manufacture of starch in the leaf, but on the fact that an
assimilating plant sets free oxygen, by breaking up the molecule CO2,
building the carbon (C) into its own tissues, and letting the oxygen (O)
go free.  A beautiful method was discovered on these lines by Engelmann,
which I was never tired of seeing year after year in my Cambridge class.
Defibrinated bullock’s blood is freed from air by means of an air pump
and charged with CO2.  In the course of this process it acquires the
dingy tint of venous blood.  A single leaf of the American weed (Elodea)
is mounted on a glass slide in a drop of this blood and covered by an
ordinary cover slip.  Then comes the dramatic moment: the preparation is
exposed to sunshine, and in 3 or 4 minutes a delicate scarlet border
begins to appear round the leaf and grows rapidly, making a curious
sunset effect in contrast with dingy purple of the venous blood.  The
meaning is very clear; the Elodea leaf in sunshine took the carbon from
the CO2, and the oxygen thus set free gave the venous blood the scarlet
hue characteristic of the arterial condition.  Professor Farmer has
designed a striking method based on another well-known experiment of
Engelmann’s.  A drop of water containing the products of decay, and
therefore swarming with bacteria, supplies the test.  A drop of this
fluid is placed on a glass slip, one or two delicate leaves of a green
water plant (Elodea) are added, and a square of thin glass is placed on
it.  Round the edges of the cover-slip the preparation must be sealed
with a preparation of wax, which melts at a low temperature, and when
cold serves to prevent the preparation drying; it also isolates it from
the surrounding atmosphere.  After making sure under the microscope that
the bacteria are in active movement, the glass slip is placed in the dark
for some 3 or 4 hours.  It is then examined, and the bacteria will be
found to have ceased to move because they and the leaves between them
have consumed the oxygen dissolved in the water, and bacterial activity
being dependent on oxygen naturally came to an end.  The preparation is
placed under the microscope and illumined with bright incandescent gas,
and after a short time the bacteria begin to stir and are soon once more
whirling in their insensate dance.  The reason is obvious—the green
leaves under the influence of light were able to seize the carbon from
the CO2, and the O thus set free put the bacteria in motion.  The
bacterial dance is therefore evidence of the act of assimilation carried
on by the Elodea leaf.

Yet another method is worth mention, viz., that of Boussingault.  The
plant is placed in an inverted glass vessel resting in a dish of water,
and is filled with hydrogen mixed with a percentage of CO2.  Inside the
vessel a fragment of phosphorus is suspended, and as a small amount of
oxygen is sure to be mixed with the hydrogen the phosphorus will be
oxygenated and white fumes will fill the vessel.  The observer must wait
until these clouds have subsided, which may need a couple of hours.  This
must take place in the dark, and as soon as the atmosphere is clear, the
whole preparation is placed in bright light, when obvious clouds will
again appear—a proof that oxygen has been set free by the assimilation of
the green plants.  With this example I must bring my short series of
experiments to a close, with the hope that my readers may not deny that
they are picturesque.


    “The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.”—ARCHBISHOP WHATELY.

Why is it that some people do not like dogs?  There are those who dislike
other people’s dogs just as they dislike strange children.  This is a
point of view which is comprehensible though unattractive.  Still, in
comparison with those who do not like dogs at all this class seem
positively amiable.  I knew a lady with the most perfect understanding of
the qualities of human beings, whether bad or good, yet she had no
sympathy with dogs.  She would be kind to them, as an external duty to
all living things, but a dog had absolutely no place in her heart.  What
made this blindness seem all the more incomprehensible was the fact that
she could love a bullfinch; she could not therefore plead that she loved
humanity so much that she had no love left for beings of another sort.
After all, it may be that not to care for dogs is no more a blemish than
a lack of musical ear, which is not a sign of general dullness of
artistic perception since it is found in some poets.  We must accordingly
allow that not to love dogs is not a sign of a black heart or a debased
nature.  A dog lover will grant this to be an unavoidable intellectual
conclusion, but in the secret corners of his mind he will feel something
more hostile than mere Christian pity for these emotionally deformed
people.  If he holds Erewhonian doctrines he would like to send for the
family straightener, and bear with fortitude the punishment inflicted on
his friends and relations.

I fear that we, the dog lovers, are, by those who do not share our
tastes, held to be unbalanced persons, who intrude their passions on the
reasonable and well bred.  They object to us as victims of perverted
instincts, who talk unknown dog-language in and out of season.  It is not
clear to me why we care so much for dogs.  Is it, in truth, an
exaggeration, or an offshoot of that love of the helpless young of our
own kind which natural selection develops in social animals?  This is not
necessarily maternal, as we see in the story of the heroic male baboon,
who risked his life in saving a young one from a pack of baying hounds.
{220a}  Or is it an instinct developed in a hunting tribe—a blind
tendency to take good care of the food-providers (at the expense of
starving aunts and grandmothers), such as we see among the Fuegians, who
explained that, “Doggies catch otters—old women no.” {220b}

However this may be, it is I think certain that the love of dogs is an
unreasoning passion, having all the force of an instinct.  In a story by
Miss Wilkins we see how the love even of a cat may come to be regarded as
a human right or need.  The old woman who had lost her cat (he afterwards
emerged half starved from the cellar), rebelled against the will of God.
She allowed that the happiness of husband and children was possibly not
to be expected by everyone, but “there _was_ cats enough to go all

I think it impossible to account for the especial affection that we bear
to certain dogs.  Dogs are, as I have said, in a degree like our
children; they come to us and they have to be tended, fed, and guarded,
and in these services we learn to love them.  And when our affection is
reflected back to us from the thing we love, it gains an especially
touching quality.  In the case of dogs our affection is certainly not a
response to any inherent charm obvious to all the world—and here again
they resemble children.  The dog I loved best was an inferior Irish
terrier, who gave me much trouble and anxiety.  He was constantly
fighting; he barked fiercely at innocent visitors.  He killed chickens,
and for this I had to beat him cruelly, tie him up and leave him
trembling with a dead victim round his neck, a punishment for which I
still feel remorse, though it saved him from being shot as a criminal,
and cured him of his murderous tendency for many years.  Pat was not a
clever dog, and when striving to learn certain simple tricks he used to
fall into abysses of miserable stupidity, and give up all hope of winning
the biscuit earned by his fellow-dog, a Scotch terrier, with all the
intelligent certainty of his nation.  Pat had one attractive physical
quality; he was perfectly sweet and clean; indeed his adoring family
compared his scent to that of new mown hay; he had also a smooth head,
which was compared, by one enthusiastic admirer, to a putting-green.  He
had the attractive and not very common quality of grinning—tucking up his
lips and showing the teeth, but producing the effect of a smile, and
expressing a shy and apologetic frame of mind.

Pat lived with a bad tempered Scotch terrier called Whisk, whom I liked
for his strong character and intellectual acquirements, but I had no
great affection for him.  He could not bear being spoken to or even
looked at while he ate his dinner, and would growl with his mouth full,
in a terrific manner, if so disturbed.  In the same ferocious spirit he
would growl and snap if his basket was accidentally kicked when he was
dozing in the evening, and however much we apologised he would take each
expression of regret as a fresh insult, and answer them all with growls,
which gradually died away in sleep.

We only once had a big dog, and he was not a success though he was an
agreeable person.  We bought him and his brother, two very fat mastiff
puppies, at North Berwick, and brought them south.  The one pleasant
incident in the journey was the question of a German in Edinburgh
station: “Madam, who are these dogs?”  We gave away one and kept the
other, who bore the magnificent name of Tantallon, soon abbreviated into
Tan.  He had many friendly habits, but they were on too large a scale for
domestic life.  He had, for instance, a way of placing a dirty paw on the
table cloth at meals, and he knocked down street children by trying to
lick their faces and (so rumour said) by wagging his tail.  He frightened
cab horses into hysterics, and their drivers fell off and claimed
damages.  He ate with enjoyment the embroidered perambulator-cushion of a
neighbour, who was discovered looking on while Tan tore strips off the
cushion with that powerful upward movement of the head and neck which few
cushions can withstand.  Finally poor Tan had to be given away, and was
lost sight of.

These rough outlines of the characters of some of our dogs are meant to
show that the reasons for loving dogs are not patent, and that we cannot
complain if the words, used by a little girl in _Punch_ towards a couple
of earwigs, should be applied to us and our dogs, “Nasty creatures!  I
cannot think how they can care for each other.”

Stevenson’s essay {223} on _The Character of Dogs_ is not entirely
satisfactory.  It is surely a one-sided view of the dog that “he is
vainer than man, singularly greedy of notice, singularly intolerant of
ridicule, suspicious like the deaf, jealous to the degree of frenzy, and
radically devoid of truth.”  It is hardly possible that he should be
vainer than man; and in the dog, vanity is a far simpler and more lovable
thing than the complex and offensive passion in his master.  His greed
for notice and his jealousy are part of his great love for his master.  I
do not remember that Stevenson ever speaks of the passionate love (not
for mankind, but for one special person) which burns in the heart of a
dog.  It is a singular omission—and I cannot but think it intentional.
If so he was wise, for it certainly does not lend itself to the manner
which Stevenson adopts towards dogs.  No doubt I may be led into
sentimentality and general wearifulness in attempting to describe what
seems to me the most striking characteristic of dogs—their great and
enduring power of loving.  It may be that “the day of an intelligent
small dog is passed in the manufacture and laborious communication of
falsehood.”  But he does not lie when he says quite plainly how greatly
he loves his master.  Nor do I agree that a small spoiled dog would prate
interminably, and still about himself.  I think he would say, “I love
you” rather often, but that bears repetition.  I know a Schipperke whose
main interest in life is his dinner, but when his mistress was ill he had
only two desires, to lie on her bed and to bite the doctor for
approaching her.  He had to be dragged out for a walk instead of eagerly
begging for one.  Was this an elaborate falsehood?  Was it pretence?  Was
it conventionality?

A dog can hardly be expected to plead guilty when detected in crime.  He
jumps off the forbidden bed when he hears someone coming, and, being
unaware that the warm place on the counterpane will betray him, he
assumes a calm and happy air.  But this is a lie so natural that I for
one cannot blame the liar.

In my life with dogs I have felt much more clearly their desire to speak,
and to speak truth, than the wish to deceive.  I had an old Scotch
terrier, who in his youth, before I knew him, had been called Nigel, no
doubt because he was black and small, but as he grew up he somehow
acquired the uncouth name of Scrubbins.  At one stage of his career he
was condemned to death for eczema.  I begged him off, and he lived some
five years with me, and was cured of his eczema by the devoted care of a
servant.  He was a dog of large heart, who, while he cared for others,
was especially devoted to me.  In his old age his eyes became dim and his
limbs stiff.  He had a pathetic way of standing staring into my eyes, or
with difficulty getting his paws on to my knees to ask to have his head
rubbed, an attention of which he never wearied.  No one could doubt that
this was his expression of the mutual love that bound us to each other.
This was the indestructible impression produced, and it is useless to
tell me that he may have been striving to conceal some crime, or at least
some base and worldly point of view.  When sentiment is applied to facts,
rational conclusions are apt to be rare—but without a share of sentiment
there might have been no facts to record.

There are innumerable cases proving the devotion of dogs—a passion
surviving the master’s death, and prolonged until the dog himself dies.
Such is the story of the heroic dog seen to watch his master’s dead body
in South America, keeping the vultures off it, and only allowing himself
an occasional rush to the river for water, until he too died.  What is
there here but a passion of love?  We may call it instinct, but what is
the love of a human mother?

A dog differs from his master in not taking offence; you may tread on his
tail and he will only apologise for being in your way.  But I have known
a dog bite his mistress when she interfered with him in a fight, while he
was beside himself with anger.  In the same way an unhappy dog caught in
a trap may be so maddened with pain as to attempt to bite those who seek
to free him, but these are extreme cases.  It is again part of this same
lovable quality of dogs that they are not given to moods.  They are
always ready to welcome us and to wag tails when we notice them.

M. Anatole France shows in some ways a sympathy with dogs, and a
sensitiveness to their mental attitudes, finer and more true than
anything in Stevenson’s essay.  The misery of Riquet {226} over the
_démenagement_ of his master, M. Bergeret, is admirably drawn.  Riquet
begins by barking fiercely when “des hommes inconnus, mal vêtus,
injurieux et farouches” invade his beloved house, and ends in being
lifted in silent misery and shut up in a portmanteau.  Riquet soon
becomes too human, but he does at least show his adoration of M.
Bergeret, in mourning over the desecration and removal of “ton fauteuil
profond—le fauteuil où nous reposions tous les soirs, et bien souvent le
matin, à côté l’un de l’autre.”

No. XII. of the _Pensées de Riquet_ does not bear on the love that
subsists between dog and man; it goes deeper however, for it shows that
men as well as dogs are dominated by instinctive night fears which unite
them by a most ancient and enduring bond.  Riquet says: “À la tombée de
la nuit des puissances malfaisantes rôdent autour de la maison,” a fact
obvious to all children.  There is (No. XII.)an admirable comic prayer to
his master beginning, “O mon maître Bergeret, dieu de carnage, je
t’adore.”  But it seems to me to miss the true flavour of doggishness.

Professor A. C. Bradley {227} strives to show that Shakespeare “did not
care for dogs.”  His opinion is worthy of respect, and all the more that
he seems to be a dog lover himself.  At least, so I interpret what he
says of Shakespeare: “To all that he loved most in men he was blind in
dogs, and then we call him universal!”  “What is significant,” he says,
“is the absence of sympathic allusion to the characteristic virtues of
dogs, and the abundance of allusions of an insulting kind.”

I had always imagined that the description of the hounds in “A
Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” was written by one who liked dogs as
individuals, not merely as a picturesque piece of hunting apparatus.  But
Professor Bradley’s contrary opinion is probably the sounder.  In the
same way I think that the passage in “Lear,” “Tray, Blanche, and
Sweetheart,” etc., could only have been written by one who understood the
shock which the little dogs’ behaviour gave the King.  On the other hand,
I agree that Shakespeare does not sympathise with the admirable conduct
of Launce, who sat in the stocks to save his dog from execution for

Scott was a genuine dog lover.  It is on record that he excused himself
for not keeping an engagement on the score of the death of an old friend,
that friend being his bulldog Camp.  His deerhounds Bran and Maida are,
like the Duke of Wellington’s horse Copenhagen, known to all the world.
I am glad to think that Scott’s dogs are preserved in several of his
portraits.  In his books there are two types of dogs, Dandie Dinmonts’
Pepper and Mustard who have given their master’s name to a breed and are
real dogs of flesh and blood.  Or again, Harry Bertram’s Wasp, who helps
to save Dandie from the thieves.  But there is also the theatrical dog,
Roswal, in _The Talisman_, who springs at the throat of Conrad of
Montserrat and saves his master’s honour.  Between these come Gurth’s
dog, Fangs, slightly tinged by the “tushery” of Ivanhoe, but still
striking and pathetic.  I keep still my sympathy with Gurth, who swears
“by S. Edmund, S. Dunstan, S. Withold and S. Edward,” that he will never
forgive Cedric for having attempted to kill his dog, “the only living
creature that ever showed me kindness.”

But apart from his love of dogs Scott shows that he can use them with
splendid dramatic effect; for instance, when Dugald Dalgetty and the
Child of the Mist are escaping from the Duke of Argyll’s prison, how we
thrill as the distant baying of those deadly trackers, the bloodhounds,
strikes on the ear of the fugitives.

I am not clear as to what was Dickens’ personal attitude towards dogs,
but he certainly understood the passion of the dog lover.

The man who ousted David Copperfield from the box-seat in the London
Coach {229a} remarked, “‘Orses and dorgs is some men’s fancy.  They’re
wittles and drink to me—lodging, wife and children, reading, writing, and
’rithmetic—snuff, tobacker, and sleep.”  Probably we should have felt, as
Mr. Pickwick did on a similar occasion, {229b} that it would have been
well if horses and dogs had been ‘washing’ also.  I doubt, in fact,
whether we should have enjoyed his company, or even whether we should
have felt him a dog lover of our own sort—but we should not be too nice,
and must allow some merit to his form of the passion.

Another of Dickens’s characters, Mr. Sleary, {229c} of “the Horse
Riding,” has a much more attractive way of caring for animals.  His
theory of how a dog he has lost found him again always pleases me.  The
dog is believed to set on foot inquiries among his friends.  “You don’t
happen to know a person of the name of Sleary, do you?  Person of the
name of Sleary in the Horse-Riding way—stout man—game eye?”  The
inquiries were successful; and I like, too, the frankly sentimental
account of the appearance of the clown’s dog after his master’s death,
and the dog’s search for the clown’s little girl:—

“We was getting up our Children in the Wood one morning, when there comes
into our Ring by the stage door a dog.  He had travelled a long way, he
was in very bad condition, he was lame, and pretty well blind.  He went
round to our children, one after another, as if he was a-seeking for a
child he knowd; and then he come to me, and throwed himself up behind,
and stood on his two forelegs, weak as he was, and then wagged his tail
and died.”

I might doubtless give other instances of well-known men who were lovers
of dogs, {230a} but I shall refrain from further quotation.  The
instincts of man are being purged of the brutality by which they are too
often characterised, and what are clumsily called dumb animals have
benefited side by side with human beings.  It is not yet true that even a
merciful man is merciful to his beast, but in England, at any rate, it is
recognised that actual cruelty to animals is wrong, but even this is not
always the case among other nations.  My father used to tell us how, when
his horse was exhausted, he lagged behind his S. American companion who
shouted, “Spur him! Don Carlos, spur him! he is _my_ horse,” and simply
could not understand my father’s motive.  But I am glad to remember that
even among rough people, in uncivilised ages, a sense of humanity to
animals was not unknown.  Busbecquius {230b} records that in
Constantinople an angry crowd assembled before a shop in which was
exhibited a living bird with its mouth forcibly opened to show its huge

Cruelty is often said to be the outcome of ignorance and stupidity rather
than of innate brutality.  I wish I could believe this: in any case it is
an evil which must be not merely held in check but rooted out.  All
lovers of animals owe a debt of gratitude to the Society for Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals, not only for their great organisation for the
prevention and punishment of brutalities, but also, and perhaps
especially, for their guidance of public opinion.

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *



{3}  _Lundy’s Land, and other Poems_, by Duncan Campbell Scott, Toronto.

{5}  I have an antiquarian interest in the penny whistle as being a poor
relation of the “recorder” of our forefathers.

{8}  _A Naturalist’s Calendar_, by Leonard Blomefield (formerly Jenyns).
Cambridge University Press, 1903.

{9}  _Life and Letters_, Vol. II., p. 114.

{13}  This, the first Galton Lecture, was delivered before the Eugenics
Education Society, February 16th, 1914, and is, by permission, reprinted,
with some changes, from the _Eugenics Review_, 1914.

{15}  The passage quoted is from Galton’s autobiographic _Memories_, page
165.  I have necessarily drawn largely on this delightful book, and have
not generally thought it necessary to give references.

{21}  Major L. Darwin had been President of the Royal Geographical

{23}  In _Memories_, p. 310, he criticises the statistical methods of
this work.

{24}  _Macmillan’s Magazine_, XII., p. 327.

{25}  _Hereditary Genius_, p. 2.

{26a}  He had already allowed Professor Seward and myself to publish them
in _More Letters of Charles Darwin_.

{26b}  _Memories_, p. 290.

{27a}  _Hereditary Genius_ p. 9

{27b}  _Ibid._, p. 31.

{28}  _Memories_, p. 305.

{29}  _Macmillan’s Magazine_, XII., p. 327.

{30}  _Essays in Eugenics_, p. 1.

{31a}  _Essays in Eugenics_, p. 1.

{31b}  _Ibid._, p. 35.

{32a}  _Essays in Eugenics_, p. 37.

{32b}  _Ibid._, p. 42.

{34a}  _More Letters_, II., pp. 43 and 50.

{34b}  One Volume Edit. 1894, p. 617.

{35}  _Macmillan’s Magazine_, XII., p. 326.

{36}  Evening lecture delivered at the Glasgow meeting of the British
Association, September 16, 1901.  Reprinted with alterations, from
_Nature_, November 14, 1901.

{40}  See their papers in the _Deutsch Bot. Ges._, 1900, and my summary
in a paper read before the British Association, 1905.,

{41}  The root must of course be in a glass of water, and therefore
exposed to light.

{45}  Cohn’s _Beiträge_, 1894.

{47}  Pfeffer, in the _Annals of Botany_, September 1894.  Further
details in Czapek’s paper in _Pringsheim’s Jahrb._, 1895.

{48}  F. Darwin, _Annals of Botany_, December 1899.

{51a}  _Life and Habit_, 1878.

{51b}  Butler’s term.

{53a}  See James Ward, _Naturalism and Agnosticism_, i. 283

{53b}  _Science and Culture_, Collected Essays, i.

{53c}  _Loc. cit._ p. 288.

{56}  Strictly speaking—florets.

{58a}  C. Darwin.  _Climbing Plants_.

{58b}  _Galium aparine_.

{63a}  _Literary Studies_, Vol. 1., p. 303.

{63b}  _Memoir_, p. 155.

{64a}  _Memoir_, p. 147.

{64b}  _Ibid._, p. 132.

{66}  _Memoir_, p. 148.

{73}  Memoir, p. 348.

{74a}  Not the Royal residence of that name.

{74b}  Mr. Austen Leigh, _Memoir_, p. 140, quotes from Sir Denis Le
Marchant that Fanny Price was a “prime favourite” of Sydney Smith.  Mr.
F. Myers I remember speaking to me of his especial admiration for
_Mansfield Park_ and Fanny.

{82}  _Times_, Dec 6, 1910, _Educational Supplement_.

{85}  See, however, a footnote in No. IX. of this volume, p. 141.

{94}  _Studies in Literature_, 1891, p. 100.

{98}  The military drum and fife band is spoken of as “the drums”; there
is no such person as a fifer, he is described as a drummer.

{100a}  _The Elements of Musick Display’d_, etc., by William Tans’ur,
Senior Musico Theorico, London, 1772, p. 103.

{100b}  It is a pleasure to express my indebtedness to Mr. Cockerell,
Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, for his kindness in
searching, in my interest, for old illustrations of the pipe and tabor.
I have given some account of them in an appendix to this essay.

{102a}  Kemp’s _Nine Daies Wonder_: _Performed in a Daunce from London to
Norwich_, by A. Dyce, Camden Society, 1840.

{102b}  See Strutt’s _Sports and Pastimes_, Edit. 2, 1810, Plate XIV., p.

{103a}  Welch, Christopher.  _Six Lectures on the Recorder and other
flutes in relation to Literature_, 1911, p. 255.

{103b}  Recorders used to be known as flutes, while what we call flutes
were described as German or transverse flutes.  Purists desire to revive
this nomenclature, and would call the taborer’s pipe a flute or

{104a}  For details of the fingering see the appendix to this article.

{104b}  Praetorius, _Organographia_, being the second volume of his
_Systagma Musici_, 1618, where a figure is given in Plate IX.  See
Breitkopf and Härtel’s reprint of Praetorius, also Galpin’s _Old English
Instruments of Music_, 1910.

{105a}  See also Mahillon, _Catalogue descriptif et analytique du Music
instrumental du Conservatoire royal de Bruxelle_, 1909, Vol 2, p. 282.

{105b}  _Harmonie Universelle, contenant la theorie et la pratique ce la
musique_, by M. Mersenne, Fol. 1636–7, Vol II, p. 232.

{105c}  Stanford and Forsyth _History of Music_, 1916, p. 44.

{106}  _Op. Cit._ 1912, Vol 4, p. 214.

{107}  See p. 267.

{108a}  Mr. Galpin, however, uses another grip; he crooks the little
finger and presses against the lower end of the pipe, of course without
occluding the bore at all.  In the early drawings reproduced by Strutt
(see _ante_ p. 102) the taborers show as a rule three fingers only.  This
is practically Luca della Robbia’s grip, since the little finger could
hardly show in these small illustrations.  In Welch’s book on the
Recorder (p. 195) is a figure (reproduced from Mahillon) of a Basque
holding his 3-holed pipe in a different way, viz., with the ring finger
underneath and the little finger unemployed.  I find it impossible to
hold the pipe in this manner.

{108b}  Various editions appeared from 1661 to 1683.  See Welch, _loc.
cit._, p. 61.

{109a}  Mr. Galpin says that they are found on an ancient Egyptian drum.

{109b}  Mahillon’s _Catalogue_, iii., p. 377.

{110a}  A German writer has suggested that this position allows the
musician to beat the drum with his head!

{110b}  According to Mahillon, _Catalogue_ iii., p. 377, to play the
tabor and pipe is called in Provençal “tutupomponeyer.”

{115}  Reprinted by permission of the Syndics of the Cambridge University
Press from _The Makers of British Botany_.

{116a}  In 1699 Newton was made Master of the Mint and appointed Whiston
his deputy in the Lucasian Professorship, an office he finally resigned
in 1703 (Brewster’s _Life of Newton_, 1831, p. 249).

{116b}  “There, if anywhere, his dear shade must linger,” Trevelyan,
_Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay_ (1 volume edit. 1881, p. 55).

{117}  Black’s discovery of CO2, however, was published in 1754, seven
years before Hales died, but Priestley’s, Cavendish’s and Lavoisier’s
work on O and H was later.

{118a}  1837, III. p. 389.

{118b}  _Vegetable Staticks_, p. 346.

{119}  Sachs, _Geschichte_, p. 502.  Malpighi held similar views.

{120}  Sachs, _Geschichte_, p. 499.

{121}  Quoted by Caröc, in his paper read before the Cambridge
Archaeological Society on _King’s Hostel_, etc., and “Printed for the
Master and Fellows of Trinity College,” in 1909.

{122}  He also held the living of Farringdon in Hampshire where he
occasionally resided.

{123a}  _Dict. Nat. Biog._

{123b}  With a certain idleness Pope reduces him to plain Parson Hale,
for the sake of a rhyme in the _Epistle to Martha Blount_, 1, 198.

{124}  The original reads “deigned not,” an obvious slip.

{125}  This he does by means of a network of threads ¼ inch apart.
Pfeffer, _Pflanzenphysiologie_, ed. 1, 1. p. 142, recommends the method
and gives Hales as his authority.

{126a}  _Pflanzenphysiologie_, 1865 (Fr. Trans. 1868), p. 254.

{126b}  He gives it as 15.8 square inches, the only instance I have come
across of his use of decimals.

{126c}  Arbeiten, II.  p. 182.

{126d}  See Sachs’ _Pflanzenphys_. 1865 (Fr. Trans. 1868), p. 257, where
the above correction is applied to Hales’ work.

{127a}  _Vegetable Staticks_, p. 5.

{127b}  _Ibid._, p. 14.

{128a}  _Vegetable Staticks_, p. 41.

{128b}  Janse in _Pringsheim’s Jahrb_.  XVIII. p. 38.  The later
literature is given by Dixon in _Progressus Rei Bot._ III., 1909, p. 58.

{129a}  Compare F. von Höhnel, _Bot. Zeitung_, 1879, p. 318.

{129b}  This is also shown by experiment xc, _Vegetable Staticks_, p.

{130a}  The method by which Hales proposed to record the depth of the sea
is a variant of this apparatus.

{130b}  _Vegetable Staticks_, p. 92.

{130c}  According to Sachs (_Geschichte_, p. 509) Ray employed this

{130d}  Other facts showed that the “gapped” branches did not behave
quite normally.

{131a}  He refers (p. 141) to what is in principle the same experiment
(see Fig. 27) as due to Mr. Brotherton, and published in the _Abridgement
of the Phil. Trans._ II. p. 708.

{131b}  He notices that the swelling of the bark is connected with the
presence of buds.  The only ring of bark which had no bud showed no

{133}  It appears that Mayow made similar experiments.  _Dict. Nat.
Biog._ s.v. Mayow.

{134a}  _History of Chemistry_, 1909, I. p. 69.

{134b}  Hales made use of a rough pneumatic trough, the invention of
which is usually ascribed to Priestley (Thorpe’s _History of Chemistry_,
I. p. 79)

{135a}  He speaks here merely of the apples used in a certain experiment,
but it is clear that he applies the conclusion to other plants.

{135b}  _Vegetable Staticks_, p. 313.  It should be noted that Hales
speaks of organic as well as inorganic substances.

{137a}  The above account of Hales’ connexion with the Royal Gardens at
Kew is from the _Kew Bulletin_, 1891, p. 289.

{137b}  I am indebted to Sir E. Thorpe for a definition of _statical_
“Statical (Med.) noting the physical phenomena presented by organised
bodies in contradiction to the organic or vital.”  (Worcester’s
_Dictionary_.  1889.)

{138a}  _Arbeiten_, I.

{138b}  Borelli, _De Motu Animalium_, Pt. II.  Ch. xiii.  According to
Sachs, _Ges. d. Botanik_, p. 582, Mariotte (1679) had suggested the same

{138c}  Nägeli, _Stärkekörner_, p. 279.

{139a}  See his _Philosophical Experiments_, 1739.

{139b}  _Geschichte d. Botanik_, p. 515 (free translation).

{140}  An Address on the occasion of the opening of the Darwin
Laboratories at Shrewsbury School, October 20, 1911.

{141a}  In the _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, Vol. I., are given
my father’s autobiographical recollections.  He wrote (pp. 31–32):
“Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr.
Butler’s school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else being taught,
except a little ancient geography and history.”  This seems to be an
exaggeration, as the following list shows.  It is taken from Samuel
Butler’s _Life and Letters of Dr. Samuel Butler_, 1896, Vol I., p. 196.
The “weekly course of instruction for the fifth and sixth forms, under
Dr. Butler,” is given, and the items which are not classical are as

_Monday_.—English History follows Grecian and Roman history.  The rest of
a very full day is classical.

_Tuesday_.—Half-holiday.  All classical except that the Masters of
accomplishments attend in the afternoon.

_Wednesday_.—All classical.

_Thursday_.—Half-holiday.  All classical except a “Lecture in algebra”
for the sixth and upper fifth forms.

_Friday_.—All classical.

_Saturday_.—All classical except “Lecture in Euclid to sixth and upper

{141b}  Charles Darwin’s home at Shrewsbury.

{152a}  Reprinted, with corrections (by the kind permission of the
Syndics of the University Press), from Vol. v. of Sir G. Darwin’s
_Scientific Papers_.  The biographical sketch of my brother is reproduced
in a somewhat abbreviated version and does not contain Prof. E. W.
Brown’s contribution.

{152b}  The third of those who survived childhood.

{152c}  At Maer, the Staffordshire home of his mother.

{153}  _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, Vol. 1., p. 319.

{156}  Guillim, John, _A Display of Heraldry_, 6th ed., folio 1724.
Edmonson, J., _A Complete Body of Heraldry_, folio, 1780.

{157}  Afterwards Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford.  Born 1808,
died 1893.

{158a}  The late Mr. Routh was the most celebrated mathematical “Coach”
of his day.

{158b}  Compare Charles Darwin’s words: “George has not slaved himself,
which makes his success the more satisfactory” (_More Letters of C.
Darwin_, Vol. II., p. 287).

{159}  Emma Darwin, _A Century of Family Letters_, 1915, Vol. II., p.

{161}  He was called in 1874 but did not practise.

{162}  As a boy he had energetically collected Lepidoptera during the
years 1858–61; the first vague indications of a leaning towards physical
science may perhaps be found in his joining the Sicilian eclipse
expedition, December, 1870—January, 1871.  It appears from _Nature_,
December 1, 1870, that George was told off to make sketches of the

{163a}  _Macmillan’s Magazine_, 1872, Vol. XXVI., pp. 410–416.

{163b}  _Contemporary Review_, 1873, Vol. XXII., pp. 412–426.

{163c}  Not published.

{163d}  _Contemporary Review_, 1874, Vol. XXIV., pp. 894–904.

{164a}  _Journal of the Statistical Society_, 1875, Vol.  XXXVIII., pt.
2, pp. 153–182, also pp. 183–184, and pp. 344–348.

{164b}  Probably he heard informally at the end of October what was not
formally determined till November.

{165a}  Emma Darwin, _A Century of Family Letters_, 1915, Vol. II., p.

{165b}  _Nature_, December 12, 1912.

{165c}  It was in 1907 that the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press
asked George to prepare a reprint of his scientific papers, which were
published in five volumes.  George was deeply gratified at an honour that
placed him in the same class as Lord Kelvin, Stokes, Cayley, Adams, Clerk
Maxwell, Lord Rayleigh, and other men of distinction.

{166}  Thus in 1872 he was in Homburg, 1873 in Cannes, 1874 in Holland,
Belgium, Switzerland and Malta, 1876 in Italy and Sicily.

{167}  The voting at University elections is in theory strictly
confidential, but in practice this is unfortunately not always the case.
George records in his diary the names of the five who voted for him and
of the four who supported another candidate.  None of the electors are
now living.  The election occurred in January, and in June he had the
great pleasure and honour of being re-elected to a Trinity Fellowship.
His daughter, Madame Raverat, writes: “Once, when I was walking with my
father on the road to Madingley village, he told me how he had walked
there on the first Sunday he ever was at Cambridge with two or three
other freshmen; and how, when they were about opposite the old chalk pit,
one of them betted him £20 that he (my father) would never be a professor
of Cambridge University: ‘and’ said my father, with great indignation,
‘he never paid me.’”

{168}  In the second part of the Preface to the fifth volume of _Sir G.
H. Darwin’s Scientific Papers_, 1916.

{171}  _Emma Darwin_, _A Century of Family Letters_.  Privately printed,
1904.  Vol. II., p. 350.

{172a}  _Emma Darwin_, _A Century of Family Letters_, 1915, Vol. II., p.

{172b}  At that time it was known simply as Newnham, but as this is the
name of the College, and was also in use for a growing region of houses,
the Darwins christened it Newnham Grange.  The name Newnham is now
officially applied to the region extending from Silver Street Bridge to
the Barton Road.

{173a}  The following account of Newnham Grange is taken from C. H.
Cooper’s _Memorials of Cambridge_, 1866, Vol. III., p. 262 (note): “The
site of the hermitage was leased by the Corporation to Oliver Grene, 20
September, 31 Eliz. [1589].  It was in 1790 leased for a long term to
Patrick Beales, from whom it came to his brother, S. P. Beales, Esq., who
erected thereon a substantial mansion and mercantile premises now
occupied by his son, Patrick Beales, Esq., alderman, who purchased the
reversion from the Corporation in 1839.”  Silver Street was formerly
known as Little Bridges Street, and the bridges which gave it this name
were in charge of a hermit, hence the above reference to the hermitage.

{173b}  This was to distinguish it from the “Big Island,” both being
leased from the town.  Later George acquired in the same way the small
oblong kitchen garden on the river bank, and bought the freehold of the
Lammas land on the opposite bank of the river.

{177}  _The Archer’s Register_ for 1912–1913, by H. Walrond.  London,
_The Field Office_, 1913.

{178}  As here given they are abbreviated.

{182a}  See Prof Brown’s Memoir, p. xlix.

{182b}  _Nature_, 1912.  See also Prof. Brown’s Memoir, p. I.

{186}  _Nature_, December 12, 1912.

{187}  Compare Mr. Chesterton’s _Twelve Types_, (1903), p. 190.  He
speaks of Scott’s critic in the _Edinburgh Review_: “The only thing to be
said about that critic is that he had never been a little boy.  He
foolishly imagined that Scott valued the plume and dagger of Marmion for
Marmion’s sake.  Not being himself romantic, he could not understand that
Scott valued the plume because it was a plume, and the dagger because it
was a dagger.”

{190}  _Emma Darwin, A Century of Family Letters_, 1915, Vol., II., p.

{192a}  Sir George’s medals are deposited in the Library of Trinity
College, Cambridge.

{192b}  Given by the Sovereign on the nomination of the Royal Society.

{193}  Re-elected in 1912.

{194}  The above list is principally taken from that compiled by Sir
George for the Year-Book of the Royal Society, 1912, and may not be quite
complete.  It should be added that he especially valued the honour
conferred on him in the publication of his collected papers by the
Syndics of the University Press.

{195}  _Dictionary of Music_, ed. I., s.v., March.

{198a}  _Dictionary of Music_, s.v., March.

{198b}  _Dictionary of Music_, s.v. Sergeant Trumpeter.  When the office
was revived in 1858 it was given to a clarinet player and then to a
bassoonist.  Before this date it was not even necessary to be a musician
to hold the office.  The salary is £100 per annum.

{199}  _The British Campaign in France and Flanders_, 1914, pp. 117 and

{201}  An Address given at Birkbeck College, London, on September 29th,

{210}  See p. 50.

{212}  A new method of estimating the aperture of stomata.  B., Vol. 84,

{215a}  _Phil. Trans._, B. vol 190, 1898.

{215b}  See above, p. 136.

{219}  Quoted by Professor A. C. Bradley in his _Oxford Lectures on
Poetry_, 1909, p. 341.

{220a}  _Descent of Man_, 1871, Vol. 1., p. 75.

{220b}  Charles Darwin’s _Journal of Researches_, etc., ed. 1860, p. 214.

{223}  _Memories and Portraits_.

{226}  _Crainquebille, Riquet_, etc., (n.d.)

{227}  _Oxford Lectures on Poetry_, 1909, pp. 340, 341.

{229a}  _David Copperfield_, Chap. xix.

{229b}  “Its board and lodging to me, is smoke.”  _Pickwick_, Chap. xx.

{229c}  In _Hard Times_, Chap. viii.  I have ventured to omit the
elaborate lisp with which Mr. “Thleary” speaks in the original.

{230a}  See for instance the _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, Vol 1,
p. 113.

{230b}  C. T. Forster’s _Life and letters of Ogier de Busbecq_, 1881.

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