some blocks of granite naked to my clothes when I staggered and fell all my weight against the sharp crystals. Three of them stamped themselves into the fiber of my shin, and the shin was generally much bruised. But four days of perfect quiet destroyed all pain, and there was no inflammation. So I came down stairs, moved about, excited inflammation, had erysipelas twice over, and was six weeks in bed. It required three months to set me right. I am now well, and just on the point of beginning the Christmas lectures.
I wish much you would tell me what kind of lectures (scientific) you are accustomed to in New York.
The subject is again alluded to in the following letter:
April 13, 1870.
My Dear Youmans: I thank you more fully for the friendly interest you have taken in my affairs than for the money which has resulted to me through the exercise of your kindness.
I have had many letters of the most gratifying description from the United States, and this is why I mentioned lectures in my last note to you. I am not, however, certain whether it would not be better to pay you a visit without any thought of lecturing. I love freedom, and a scamper through the States, without the incubus of lectures, would be as instructive to me as it would be pleasant.
I saw Huxley last night. To him you have been acting as you have to me. The philosophers of England have much to thank you for. I was sorry to hear from Huxley that his little,book is not so successful in America as it might be. This surprises me, for it is an excellent piece of work. I wish I had time to do something similar in physics.
When I last saw Spencer he was flourishing. He told me he had written to you regarding an amanuensis. He endeavors to persuade me to lighten my labors in this way. But with me an amanuensis would not be so successful as with him. I have to rasp and rasp at my work myself before it pleases me.
With regard to the future I have to say that I am pinned this year by the meeting of the British Association at Liverpool; next year I am pinned by my lectures and researches. If I go to the States without lecturing I could probably fly off in 1872. But should I lecture, the needful preparations would throw the visit back to 1874. This is a long time to look forward to.
But whether I go or tarry, or whether I go as a lecturer or as a friendly visitor, it will make no difference in the feelings with which I reciprocate the kindness shown to me by your countrymen and yourself.
|With best regards to Mrs. Youmans,|
|Believe me, yours ever faithfully,John Tyndall.|
Tyndall's next letter referring to the subject is interesting as showing the force of custom upon a man of such independence of character:
March 26, 1871.