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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/178

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The natural and almost necessary inferiority of politicians as a class is compatible with the unsurpassed intellectual and moral greatness of statesmanship of the highest class. Men are not wanting in the history of any country, least of all in that of ours, and they have representatives among us now, who have found or made work for themselves to do which taxes the very highest gifts, and in the doing of which the very humblest and most commonplace allies and instruments acquire a sort of transfiguration. Their appearance and exertions mark the high-water point in the national life, an epoch of brief but fruitful work, an epoch of civil heroism. But the languor comes after the exertion; and in such a period of languor we seem now to be plunged. Even the men who counted for much when they followed a great leader become mere ciphers when the figure which stood at their head is removed.

Apart from these singular cases of moral and intellectual ascendency, the gifts which make a parliamentary leader are just those which make a man popular in society. The cheerful animal spirits and vigorous gayety of temperament which characterized Lord Palmerston, or the amusing qualities of a public entertainer which marked Charles Townshend (not to seek for living illustrations), are what it most relishes—the qualities which make a first-rate host in a country-house, or an amusing diner-out in town.





FROM the above names, most persons of average culture would at once infer that they are instruments for exploring the larynx and nose, and yet but few would suspect what simple little instruments they are—merely bits of looking-glass set in a frame and attached to a handle. But, when they give the matter a little further investigation, they are surprised at the greatness of the benefits which have already been reaped by mankind from the discovery of these self-same little instruments. They will learn that only a few years ago physicians were absolutely in the dark when applied to by those afflicted with disease of the throat; and that where then all was darkness, there now is clear light, thanks to the zeal and scientific devotion of Prof. Türck, of the University of Vienna, who in 1857 was the first to successfully use the laryngoscope as a means of determining the nature of a disease in the throat of a patient then in the