Page:Studies of a Biographer 3.djvu/230

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218
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

for notoriety. Huxley's life shows an admirable superiority to such weaknesses. His battles, numerous as they were, never led to the petty squabbles which disfigure some scientific lives. Nobody was ever a more loyal friend. It is pleasant to read of the group which gathered round Darwin, himself the most attractive of human beings. Huxley seems to have retained every friend whom he ever made; and one understands their mutual regard. His life proves what was already illustrated by Darwin's, how honourable and dignified may be a career honestly devoted to the propagation of truth, little as it brings in the way of external rewards. There is a kind of short history, as I fancy, given in the portraits in these volumes. He had been, as his mother assured him, a very pretty child; and the assurance convinced him that this was one of the facts which are strongly in need of sufficient evidence. The earliest portraits, in fact, do not suggest good looks: though they show a quaint, humorous face with a mouth clearly suggestive of the bulldog. But he improves as he grows older; and in the finest portrait we have the expression remembered by all who saw him; where the old combativeness is represented by the straight-