Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/655

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639
PROFESSOR TYNDALL.

those who knew him best, the impression made by even these great qualities might well be less vivid than that left by the warmth of a tenderly affectionate nature.

"If I pull through this it will be all your care, all your doing." These words (I give them from memory), uttered the night before his death, were meant for no ear but that of the tireless nurse, watcher, secretary, servant, in case of need, to whom they were addressed; and whose whole life had been, for many years, devoted to the one object of preserving that of her husband. Utterly hateful to me as are the violations of a privacy that should be sacred, now too common, I have sought and obtained permission to commit this, and take all responsibility for it. For the pitiful circumstances of Tyndall's death are known to all the world; and I think it well that all the world should be enabled to see those circumstances by the light which shines forth, alike on the dead and on the living, from the poor crumpled piece of paper on which these treasured words were, at once, recorded.

 

But I have wandered far from the year 1851 and its nascent friendships.

At that time Tyndall and I had long been zealous students of Carlyle's works. Sartor Resartus and the Miscellanies were among the few books devoured partly by myself, and partly by the mighty hordes of cockroaches in my cabin, during the cruise of the Rattlesnake; and my sense of obligation to their author was then, as it remains, extremely strong. Tyndall's appreciation of the seer of Chelsea was even more enthusiastic; and, in after-years, assumed a character of almost filial devotion. The grounds of our appreciation, however, were not exactly the same. My friend, I think, was disposed to regard Carlyle as a great teacher; I was rather inclined to take him as a great tonic; as a source of intellectual invigoration and moral stimulus and refreshment, rather than of theoretical or practical guidance. Half a century ago the evangelical reaction which, for a time, had braced English society was dying out, and a scum of rotten and hypocritical conventionalism clogged art, literature, science, and politics. I might quarrel with something every few paragraphs, but passing from the current platitudes to Carlyle's vigorous pages was like being transported from the stucco, pavement, and fog of a London street to one of his own breezy moors. The country was full of bowlders and bogs, to be sure, and by no means calculated for building leases; but oh the freshness and the freedom of it!

Our divergent appreciation of Carlyle foreshadowed the only serious strain to which our friendship was ever exposed. When the old Cavalier and Roundhead spirit woke up all over England