Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/755

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weariness and feebleness. To many minds a more satisfactory way of explaining the phenomena produced by massage would be by saying that they all occur in consequence of "magnetism," by which they have an indefinite understanding that this is some sort of imperceptible, ethereal fluid passing from one person to another. Such an explanation is low, gross, and vulgar, and it is erroneously used as a synonym for personal influence by people who do not know the proper scientific meaning of magnetism. Those who claim to have a vast stock of "magnetism" are like those who talk much of their bravery—sensible people find them devoid of either.


"NO wisdom, nor counsel, nor understanding, against the Eternal!" says the Wise Man. Against the natural and appointed course of things there is no contending. Ten years ago I remarked on the gloomy prospect for letters in this country, inasmuch as while the aristocratic class, according to a famous dictum of Lord Beaconsfield, was totally indifferent to letters, the friends of physical science, on the other hand, a growing and popular body, were in active revolt against them. To deprive letters of the too great place they had hitherto filled in men's estimation, and to substitute other studies for them, was now the object, I observed, of a sort of crusade with the friends of physical science a busy host, important in itself, important because of the gifted leaders who march at its head, important from its strong and increasing hold upon public favor.

I could not help, I then went on to say, I could not help being moved with a desire to plead with the friends of physical science on behalf of letters, and in deprecation of the slight which they put upon them. But from giving effect to this desire I was at that time drawn off by more pressing matters. Ten years have passed, and the prospects of any pleader for letters have certainly not mended. If the friends of physical science were in the morning sunshine of popular favor even then, they stand now in its meridian radiance. Sir Josiah Mason founds a college at Birmingham to exclude "mere literary instruction and education"; and at its opening a brilliant and charming debater, Professor Huxley, is brought down to pronounce their funeral oration. Mr. Bright, in his zeal for the United States, exhorts young people to drink deep of "Hiawatha"; and the "Times"—which takes the gloomiest view possible of the future of letters, and thinks that

  1. Address delivered as "The Rede Lecture" at Cambridge.