Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/425

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411
SKETCH OF ISAAC LEA.

me if I say that I consider it one of his highest qualifications as a man of science. Nothing ever escaped his quick eye in the field or by the road-side when driving. Every tree, shrub, and flower, was full of interest to him, from which he ever imparted knowledge to his friends. In observing crystalline forms I believe he excelled others."

Another friend regards him from a different point of view, and says: "Something of his great-heartedness was revealed to even the casual observer. It found expression in form, and feature, and voice. Yet it was by those who knew him intimately that the social, affectional qualities of his nature were best perceived and most admired. Inheriting a loving spirit, and receiving the gentle impressions of a Christian home, he never lost his priceless dower. The demands of successful, enlarging business, the fondness for scientific study, the passion for scientific discovery, the allurements of fame, were wholly insufficient to make him other than amiable and self-forgetful. His home was the source and center of his delight. He gratefully acknowledged his indebtedness to those on whom he lavished his regard. During all the years in which he used even the night-watches for his investiations, the early hours of evening were spent, with free and joyous mind, in the midst of his family. He ever took more from himself than from others. Hospitality was the very genius of his house. With gentlest, heartiest courtesy his friends were welcomed to his fireside and his board. To those of scientific turn his rare and extensive scientific collections were opened with genuine delight. For those whose choice was in other directions, provision was made with equal care and gladness. Toward little children, and the young in general, his sympathies went forth with spontaneous freedom. He delighted to show to childish eyes, and to explain to childish comprehension, the beauties and marvels of Nature. Especially did he rejoice in giving encouragement to those who were struggling upward against great odds. The sight of such aspiration always awakened his enthusiastic interest. Not a few who to-day occupy positions of honor and usefulness owe their success to his appreciative, generous help. To envy his heart was wholly a stranger, and thus his friendships with men of science, both young and old, and with men great in other walks, were peculiarly tender and strong.

"In truth, his kindly interest included whatever affected the welfare of the race. He took pleasure in all honest effort. He exulted in all honorable achievement. He felt that he was personally indebted to whosoever made man better or more wise. In all social problems he took profound, unflagging interest. He sought to hold in view the progress of humanity in every land. In the alliance between religion and philanthropy and science he was a firm believer. He was confident that truth and right would triumph at last. To his perception the laws of Nature were the constancy of God's action, and Nature itself a transcript of the Eternal Mind."