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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/840

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

with him. "Do you believe in matter?" was a question which he propounded just as we were about to bid one another goodnight after a day's continuous talking. Ever since a nervous breakdown in 1855, over my second book, talking has told upon me just as much as working, and has had to be kept within narrow limits; so that persistence in this kind of thing was out of the question, and I had to abridge my stay. Once more the like happened when, after the meeting of the British Association at Liverpool, we adjourned to the Lakes. Gossip, which may be carried on without much intellectual tax, formed but a small element in our conversation. There was almost unceasing discussion as we rambled along the shore of Windermere, or walked up to Rydal Mount (leaving our names in the visitors' book), or as we were being rowed along Grasmere, or when climbing Loughrigg on our way back. Tyndall's intellectual vivacity gave me no rest, and after two utterly sleepless nights I had to fly.

I do not think that on these occasions, or on any other occasion, politics formed one of our topics. Whether this abstention resulted by accident or whether from perception that we should disagree, I can not say—possibly the last. Our respective leanings may be in part inferred from our respective attitudes toward Carlyle. To me, profoundly averse to autocracy, Carlyle's political doctrines had ever been repugnant. Much as I did, and still do, admire his marvelous style and the vigor, if not the truth, of his thought—so much so that I always enjoy any writing of his, however much I disagree with it—intercourse with him soon proved impracticable. Twice or thrice, in 1851-'52, 1 was taken to see him by Mr. G. H. Lewes; but I soon found that the alternatives were—listening in silence to his dogmas, sometimes absurd, or getting into a hot argument with him, which ended in our glaring at one another; and as I did not like either alternative I ceased to go. With Tyndall, however, the case seems to have been different—possibly because of greater tolerance of his political creed and his advocacy of personal government. The rule of the strong hand was not, I fancy, as repellent to Tyndall as to me; and, indeed, I suspect that, had occasion offered, he would not have been reluctant to exercise such rule himself. Though his sympathies were such as made him anxious for others' welfare, they did not take the direction of anxiety for others' freedom as the means to their welfare; and hence he was, I suppose, not in pronounced antagonism with Carlyle on these matters. But divergent as our beliefs and sentiments were in earlier days, there has been in recent days mutual approximation. A conversation with him, some years since, made it manifest that personal experience had greatly shaken the faith he previously had in public administrations, and made him look with more favor on the view of State--