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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/582

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

imaginable, that of the most fashionable physician in London is the last that any one, however sagacious, would have predicted for him. I went my way to the other side of the world, for four years, in the fall of 1846, and, after my return to England, the kindly fates determined I should no longer be exposed to the risk of committing homicide as a grievously incompetent member of the noblest of professions. So my former messmate and I drifted far away from one another on our several courses, and only indirect accounts of him reached me from time to time. I heard that destiny had withdrawn him from the service, no doubt for reasons directly opposite to those which led to my removal; then, that he was practicing in some far-off region of London, eastward of the fashionable Eden; then, as it seemed quite suddenly, I learned that he was a hospital physician of great repute and rapidly increasing practice, residing in the very omphalos of Æsculapia Cavendish Square. We met now and again, as busy men in London do; but I suppose our renewed acquaintance would have stopped there, had I not fallen ill in 1871 of what it was then the fashion to call overwork. I was desired to rest, go to Egypt, and do all sorts of other things; which I did, but with no other result than that of gradually descending into lower and lower circles of the inferno of hypochondriacal dyspepsia. After a year or more of this increasing wretchedness, a friend fairly worried me into consulting the doctor who was all the fashion, and who, I confess, seemed nowise the better in my eyes for being so. It is difficult for me to speak in moderate language of the time and pains which one of the hardest-pressed of physicians devoted to my case; of his thoughtful and self-sacrificing care not only of me, but of several members of my family; of the scientific sagacity of his diagnosis; or of the firmness with which he insisted on somewhat ascetic remedial measures which, in the opinion of not a few of my friends, tended to speedy euthanasia. Suffice it to say that I was practically well in three months, and remained in a very good state of repair for a dozen years. From that time onward we were fast friends, none the less for heartily disagreeing about a good many fundamental questions. Thoughtless people blame Sir Andrew Clark for not leaving off work when he had reached wealth, fame, and the official headship of his profession. But though he may have liked these rewards as well as another, my friend did not live for them. His work was his life, and no true friend would have desired for him, of all men, a prolongation of that shadow-life of enforced rest, in which there is no repose."

 

Action of Light on Dyes.—The report of the British Association's committee on the action of light on dyed colors refers chiefly to coloring matters belonging to groups of dyes known as eosins, rosanilines, indulines, and azo colors, producing various shades of red. The results show that relative fastness or permanence of the colors when exposed to light is practically the same on silk as on wool. The most fugitive red dyes are those of the eosin group and their allies, while the most permanent, with very few exceptions, belong to the group of azo colors. One very important result is that the rate of fading of a dye depends mainly on its chemical constitution, and does not depend upon whether it is an artificial or a natural product. It follows that, contrary to the common belief, artificial coloring matters are made that are quite as permanent when exposed to light as the colors obtained directly from vegetable products.

 

Guesses and Proof.—Dr. Pye-Smith, in the course of the last Harveian oration, delivered in London in October, said: "As Paley justly puts it, 'He only discovers who proves.' To hit upon the true conjecture here and there amid a crowd of untrue guesses, and leave it again without appreciation of its importance, is as a sign, not of intelligence, but of frivolity. We are told that of the seven wise men of Greece one—I believe it was Thales—taught that the sun did not go around the earth, but the earth around the sun, and hence it has been said that Thales anticipated Copernicus—a flagrant example of the fallacy in question. A crowd of idle philosophers, who sat through the long summer days and nights of Attica discussing all things in heaven and earth, must sometimes have hit upon a true opinion, if only by accident; but Thales, or whoever broached the heliocentric dogma, had