Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/647

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GLIMPSES AT DARWIN'S WORKING LIFE.

always appeared to me more satisfactory to look at the immense amount of pain and suffering in this world as the inevitable result of the natural sequence of events—i. e., general laws—rather than from the direct intervention of God, though I am aware this is not logical with reference to an omniscient Deity."

He wrote to a Dutch student in 1873: "The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose from chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of a God; but whether this is an argument of real value I have never been able to decide. . . . The safest conclusion seems to me that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man's intellect; but man can do his duty." In 1879 he wrote in the letter first made public by Haeckel: "Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities." When the Duke of Argyll remarked to him in 1885, concerning some wonderful adaptations which he had described, that it was impossible to look at them without seeing that they are the effect and the expression of mind, he replied, "Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force, but at other times it seems to go away."

One of the characteristics of Mr. Darwin's manner of working was his great respect for time. He used to say that saving the minutes was the way to get work done, and never allowed a few spare minutes to go to waste from thinking that it was not worth while to set to work. He would work up to the very limits of his strength and then suddenly stop, saying, "I believe I mustn't do any more." All his movements were performed as quickly as possible; but, in cases requiring care, he gave it. He saved a good deal of time through not having to do things twice—that is, by doing them right at first. His love of experiment was very strong, and was exemplified by his often saying, "I sha'n't be easy till I have tried it"; and he stuck unflinchingly to a subject on which he had once begun, for he could not bear to be beaten, and was accustomed to recall the phrase, "It's dogged as does it."

He was fond of light reading, and particularly enjoyed having novels read to him—provided they had good endings. He also liked a biography or a book of travels occasionally, but cared little for the old standards. In later life, he felt his taste for recreation fading out, and he regretfully wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker, in 1868, respecting the "Messiah": "It is the one thing that I should like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a horrid bore to feel, as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except science. It sometimes makes me hate science, though God