Page:Millicent Fawcett - Some Eminent Women.djvu/55

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Senate of the London University, praying that degrees might be granted to women. At the time this petition was unsuccessful, but its prayer was granted within a very few years. One cannot but regret that Mrs. Somerville did not live to see this fulfilment of her wishes. She showed her sympathy with the movement for the higher education of women, by bequeathing her mathematical and scientific library to Girton College. It is one of the possessions of which the College is most justly proud. The books are enclosed in a very beautifully designed case, which also forms a sort of framework for a cast of Chantrey's bust of Mrs. Somerville. The fine and delicate lines of her beautiful face offer to the students of the College a worthy ideal of completely developed womanhood, in which intellect and emotion balance one another and make a perfect whole.

Mrs. Somerville's other works, written after The Mechanism of the Heavens, were The Connection of the Physical Sciences, Physical Geography, and Molecular and Microscopic Science. The last book was commenced after she had completed her eightieth year. Her mental powers remained unimpaired to a remarkably late period, and she also had extraordinary physical vigour to the end of her life. She affords a striking instance of the fallacy of supposing that intellectual labour undermines the physical strength of women. Her last occupations, continued till the actual day of her death, were the revision and completion of a treatise on The Theory of Differences, and the study of a book on Quaternions. Her only physical infirmity in extreme old age was deafness. She was able to go out and enjoy life up to the time of her death, which took place in 1872, at the great age of ninety-two years.

She was a woman of deep and strong religious feeling. Her beautiful character shines through every word and action of her life. Her deep humility was very striking, as was also her tenderness for, and her sympathy with, the sufferings of all who were wretched and oppressed. One