Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/423

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407
SKETCH OF HEINRICH HERTZ.

However highly his own time and posterity may prize the man of science, the great discoverer, in Prof. Hertz, his value as such to the world at large does not surpass that of the rare purity and greatness of his character, of the intrinsic merit which he possessed for those who knew him personally. A world-wide reputation so rapidly attained might have produced in the young man some feeling of elation and pride, and in his colleagues somewhat of envy. But, as Prof. Hubert Ludwig, representing the University of Bonn at Prof. Hertz's funeral in Hamburg, said in his memorial speech:

“The rich harvest of fame and glory which was granted him, and that was so fully merited as not to be tainted by a single breath of envy or jealousy, never caused him to give up one atom of the noble simplicity and genuine modesty which were a fundamental trait of his character. His modesty was a most lovable quality in this great man, asserting itself not only in every-day life, but also in his scientific labors, which it pervades with the endearing charm of an amiable personality. It was coupled with the most considerate indulgence when judging others. His ever-ready recognition of other people's merits made it a sheer impossibility to grudge him his attainments or to be his enemy.

“ ‘ None knew him but to love him,
None named him but to praise.’

At the same time he was governed by an inflexible veracity.”

He was indeed a most lovable man, and was never happier than in giving pleasure to others. His kindness and benevolence found expression in many ways, most of all toward those above whom he was placed as head of his department in the university. It was a pleasure to notice his satisfaction, when he found it in accordance with his duty, to confer a benefit or favor. And when it was incumbent upon him to refuse or displease, he became the director who performed his duty, and the friend who regretted what had to be done. He was always ready to show hospitality to scientific men who came to Bonn from other parts of Germany or from foreign countries. Even under the restraint of a foreign tongue (he spoke English and French with considerable fluency) his conversation was charming. Not what he had achieved, gave him his ascendency in scientific discourse, but what he, beyond a thousand learned men, could achieve at any time — original and sagacious thoughts, springing up on the spur of the moment, and losing none of their force by being expressed in the most unpretending, simple form. When entertaining friends or conversing with his dear ones, he perfectly forgot the learned professor in himself; he was so much at his ease, so full of fun, that none around him could help sharing his gayety. Many of his guests,