Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/425

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erfurd's physical condition was delicate during the later years of his life, and not suitable for sedentary occupation, or that which exposed him to sudden changes of weather; but he continued his astronomical work as long as prudence permitted it, then retired wholly from it. His death was brought on by a cold, contracted while traveling to his winter residence in Florida, to which was added the shock caused by the sudden death of his daughter.

Of his personality, Mr. O. G. Mason says, in the Photographic Times: "No one could be long in his presence without feeling that he was a man of rare ability. His tall, erect figure and scholarly face made him conspicuous wherever he went. His dignified, courtly bearing and genial nature made earnest friends of all his acquaintances. His dislike of ostentation and show was a conspicuous trait of his character. He was never known to wear any one of the many decorations, emblems of rank, or acquirements which had been conferred upon him." His signature was his plain name, without the addition of any of the literary and scientific honors and titles he had a right to use. "His liberality in the diffusion of the knowledge which he had gained was known and appreciated by hundreds who sought his advice"; and "his wise counsel was sought and recognized as being of the highest value."


In his address as President of the English Folklore Society, Mr. G. Laurence Gomme mentioned as one of the most important of the folklorist's duties the tracing of the influence of Christianity on traditional belief and usage. The heroes and heroines of folk-tales were certainly not Christians, and Christianity was not even nominally represented, except in Slavic countries and in Spain. Thus a dual system of belief was manifested in many of the tales and traditions. This dualism was illustrated in the cry of an old Scottish peasant when he came to worship at the sacred well: "O Lord, thou knowest that well would it be for me this day, an' I had stoopit my knees and my heart before thee in spirit and in truth as often as I have stoopit them afore this well. But we maun keep the customs of our fathers." In like manner there is still a superstition in Lancashire of a long journey after death. Of a man who died of apoplexy at a public dinner, one of the company remarked: "Well, poor Joe, God rest his soul. He has at last gone to his long rest, wi' a belly full of good meat, and that is some consolation." This survival of paganism was frequently noticed by the early Christian fathers; and the pagan conceptions, as a whole, lasted much longer than many of us would conceive possible. In a sermon preached in 1659 by Mr. Pemble, of the Church of England, the case of an old man is given who, being questioned by a minister touching his faith and hope, replied that God was a good old man and Christ a towardly youth; that his soul was a great bone in his body, and after he was dead, if he had done well, he should be put in a pleasant green meadow. This conception of the soul as a bone in the body was paralleled by the notion of the New-Zealanders that a peculiarly sacred character attaches to the backbone. Other curious customs illustrating the mixture of faiths were referred to in the address.