Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/563

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M. SAINTE-CLAIRE DEVILLE.

atomic theory not excepted, to be a superfluous speculation. His methods, his apparatus, and the few fundamental principles he has enunciated, were all alike simple. He was much beloved by his students, and was devoted to them. Though the labor of drilling the pupils of the Normal School year after year in the same elementary principles must have been irksome in the extreme, he was always kind and just, always ready with counsel and help. His proverbial tenderness toward candidates in the public examinations is illustrated by an anecdote:

"Let us see, monsieur," he asks; "of what is water composed?. . . Of o—?"
"Xygen," the pupil replied.
"And what else?. . . Of hy—?"
"Drogen," added the candidate.
"That is right, monsieur. Thank you."

M. Pasteur describes him as small in stature, with a high forehead, lively eyes, and an impulsive walk; a man who might have compared the beating of the blood in his veins to that of the waves in the river Rhône.

M. Deville's chief works include his contributions to the "Annales de Chimie et de Physique" concerning the properties of aluminium and his experiments with it; a comprehensive work on the same subject ("De l'Aluminium, ses Propriétés, sa Fabrication"), published in 1859; a report on the fusion of steel in the reverberating furnace without using a crucible (1862); and his large work on the metallurgy of platinum and the metals that accompany it (1863). Among his more important contributions to the Academy of Sciences are papers on the three molecular states of silicium and a memorandum on the production of high temperatures.

M. Pasteur relates that at one time, when he thought that he himself was about to die, M. Deville rallied him by telling him that he must live to pronounce his funeral address. The duty was beautifully fulfilled by M. Deville's fellow-worker in the fields of investigation. On the 5th of July last, M. Pasteur pronounced an affectionate funeral eulogy on his deceased colleague, beginning with the appropriate apostrophe: "Thy sympathetic features, thy gayety of spirits, thy frank smile, the sound of thy voice, still go with us and live among us. The ground that bears us, the air we breathe, the elements which thou didst love to question, and which were always so docile in answering thee, could tell us of thee if there were need of it. The entire world knows the services thou hast rendered to science, and, beyond the mountains and the seas, every man who is interested in the progress of human thought wears mourning for thee."