other, and almost neighbors in the old days when the Doctor practised in the heart of Paris. Mademoiselle was a person of rare, suave and serene beauty. She had a beaming presence. Her softly lambent eyes, large and dark, indicated rather an Italian or a more Oriental origin. They retained their loveliness to the end. Her whole appearance was harmonious, her figure tall, slender and that of a fausse maigre, looking thin but not really so, and admirably adapted to show to advantage elegant raiment, or to give quite plain clothes an air of supreme elegance. Berthelot did not pay much attention to this paragon. She would have appeared beyond his reach. He was smitten once and for all accidentally and under unusual circumstances on the Pont Neuf. Mlle. Bréguet had been paying a visit in a nice new dress and a broad-brimmed Tuscan hat, then fashionable in spring and summer. You may see such a hat in an oval portrait of the Empress Eugénie by Winterhalter. On this occasion Mlle. Breguet crossed the longest bridge in Paris in the face of a strong wind. The savant, still unknown to fame, for whom destiny had marked her, walked rapidly behind with head down, brows knit, and deep in cogitation. He had to stop short in order not to run against a young lady who had suddenly wheeled round to prevent a violent gust from carrying away her hat. The breezy air and her efforts to make headway against it had brightened a uniformly pale complexion of an almost amber tint, and given it the rich color of a ripe apricot. The mouth, generally a little prim, had expanded into laughter, and the bright even teeth added to the radiance of the countenance. It was usually a softly pensive face, with an air of discreet reticence which gained ground as her cir cle enlarged and children-in-law came into it. The dimples in the cheek, as

in the famous portrait of Joconda in the Louvre, also gave the idea of reticence. The expansion due to the breezy walk over the bridge placed her in an entirely new aspect. Berthelot then and there fell in love with her and she with him. His pride prevented him from asking her to share his life until he had an honorable position to offer her. For a wonder the course of true love this time ran smooth, though we may suppose that Berthelot for some time lived in a state of cruel suspense and dread of the treasure he coveted slipping from him. He had an extraordinary fidelity in his attachments, and could be sure of his own mind. But could he be sure of hers? However, Duruy came in as the providence of the true lover.

I used to see Mme. Berthelot and her band of children when they were little in the Tuileries Gardens and on river steamers going to Sèvres and Saint Maur, where she had relations. I also passed a week at the établissement of a M. Raymond at a then very unfrequented watering place, Forges-enHurepoix, where she had with her the elder children, then quite little mites. She never went into fashionable society, not even when Berthelot enjoyed universal renown and held ministerial portfolios. This was from want of taste for everything in the nature of display or dissipation, and from being satisfied with the circle-literary, learned, scientific, artistic, with a spice of the theatre that gathered round her, widening out each year. When all the children went out into life Mme. Berthelot devoted herself to softening the contrarieties which advancing years and the multiplicity of posts had brought upon her husband. He thought it behooved him to be a citizen devoted to the public weal as well as a savant seeking in the crucible a new world. He managed with her help never to neglect one duty for an

other. In her feminine and ladylike manner she acted as the good citoyenne in ministering to the wants of the poor. She sent all the cast-off clothes of the family to the cleaners, and when they came back mended them carefully and gave them a new look so as not to humiliate or break down honest pride. Berthelot, with her help, could attend to his College of France tasks and his almost crushing labors as Permanent Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, which brought him, from 1873, 7,000 francs a year, plus 2,000 as a member of that Academy and apartments rent free at the Institute. He took a leading and very active part in the labors of the different Committees of the Senate that had to deal with Bills for the reform of higher or primary instruction, for University extension and for technical schools, which he disliked except for manual training. He also contributed articles on special subjects to the Temps and to scientific journals, and attended from May to November to the work at the Laboratoire de Chimie Végétale that he founded at Meudon, and from which he derived no other personal advantage than having a country residence rent free, within a stone's throw of the rack railroad that connected Upper Meudon with the Seine steamer. He did a great deal of his work as permanent secretary in this steamer, in which the skipper reserved a place for him below. It took him to the Institute. He could thence run on to the Senate or the College of France, and on his way back to Meudon look in at his rooms to receive any letters or papers that might await him there. If he had not mapped out to the minute all the time he could give to the run into town and his multiplied affairs there, he must have been lost in details and haste too hot and perplexing to foster thought. He disliked being interviewed by ignorant and presumptuous people, from the fear of a

mess being made of what he said. But he was most obliging in seeing and giving information to persons competent to understand him. Had his life been spared, he would probably have astonished the world by his observations on trees as regulators of electricity, and as possible media of electrical communication, and on the world-wide disasters which the clearing off of forests to make paper is likely to occasion. His walks in the forests of Meudon opened to him new and original views on the harmonies of creation. The Martinique catastrophe set him on a track in which he might figure as a Jeremiah, warning the world not to upset natural balances under pain of planetary ruin, or in which he might figure as a creator of nitrates, and thus vastly multiply the fertility of our worn-out soils. In the course of his life Berthelot must have refused many millions from manufacturers to let them have the exclusive knowledge of discoveries which they scented. A sugar manufacturer offered him an important share in his works, the greatest in France, if he would work out for him a cheaper means for the extraction of the saccharine crystals from molasses. Berthelot said that he worked for the State, that is for everybody, and could not be a party to any patenting arrangement. His University appointment and his seat in the Senate had brought him enough to live upon. What more could he reasonably desire?

Berthelot was a charming lecturer. He thought it a duty to interest by giving a form to what he had to say as artistic as the subject would admit of. He spoke in a strong yet musical voice, with fine distinctress and rather slowly. To speak quickly would be to hurry and confuse the ideas of his hearers as they arose. His eye and countenance as a whole helped the effect of his words. There was often a

rhythm in his sentences which caught the ear and helped the memory to retain them. His knowledge of Greek and Latin was deep, and he thought the classics an invaluable mental discipline. He had no patience with promoters of volapük, of the daily or weekly Press as a means of education high or low, or of the latest proposals to reform orthography by making it phonetic. The chairman of an educational Congress that he attended told him at the banquet which followed that he had read three times through Larousse's "Encyclopædic Dictionary." "Malheureux!" cried Berthelot. The word had hardly passed his lips when he reflected that he was speaking to an adult past curing, and swallowed a tumbler of water to give himself time to find a more polite observation. It then occurred to him to ask, "Did not the great variety of the subjects make your head ache at each reading? They would have set my brain wool-gathering had I attempted to submit it to the same educational discipline." There are scientific philistines. Berthelot stood at the opposite pole. He disliked intolerance in controversy. Whenever he received a telegram from a Free Thought Congress to announce that he had been unanimously named honorary president, he returned an answer in which he gave a lesson of forbearance and philosophical charity, the best means for eliciting truth and cultivating that sociability on which the progress of humanity so greatly depends. Not long before his death a deputation of anti-clericals called on him. He received them affably, talked a while, had up champagne, and, after The Contemporary Review.

filling glasses, proposed the health of the Pope, who had done so much for the Separation of Church and State. Renan had the globe trotting instinct. Berthelot had not. He passed his whole life in the Department of the Seine et Oise and on the banks of the Seine or within sight of the river. He made a few short tours in Brittany, in Burgundy and in the South of France, and had an extremely uneventful career outside his laboratory. His jubilee celebration, to which every university in the world sent delegates, as did also every scientific body of which he was an honorary member, set the seal on his fame. He declined to be taken to the great sitting at the Sorbonne in a carriage of the President of the Republic and with a military escort. Mme. Berthelot preceded him there with her children and her grandchildren. Berthelot went on foot, his overcoat hiding the grand cordon of the Legion of Honor, and running along with his head down, escaped being identified by the crowds that had been watching for him to give him an ovation. He received from the hands of President Loubet, in the name of France, the gold plaquette by Chaplain. As it was impossible to thank each University, Government or learned body that had honored him, he had to speak urbi et orbi. In this way he was l'Homme Pontife of Humanity at the opening of the Twentieth Century, the greatest position to which any man had ever risen. The manner of his death must add to his renown. It gives a sentimental interest to the Pantheon and poetizes it as a mausoleum.

Emily Crawford.


We of the present generation, no longer rising but already risen, who are dwellers in the country and lovers of all country things, hardly realize how much the generation now uprising has lost by the legislation tending to curb its natural inhumanity. For how much did it count in our own joy of life as a boy that we could go down the garden hedgerows, ramble through all the unpreserved places of the woodland, explore every bush and every cranny in a wall, in the hope, not too far-fetched, that we might find therein some precious thing-the nest of some bird, more or less rare (in that delightful period of ingenuous youth when we could make belief that each nest that we found was a rarity, even though in the depths of our secret souls we knew that it was not), containing eggs of a kind that did not yet grace our collection?

In the spring and early summertide did not these delights count for very much? And now of course, they are in many cases taken, by a grudging legislation, out of the category of boyhood's joys, and nothing has been given in their place. It is true that we may, if we please, observe birds at their domestic affairs still, still search for the rare nest, admire the beauty of the rare egg. But what is all that worth if we may not make the treasure our own? session appeals very strongly to a boy; for as a rule his possessions are not yet many. He has them all to make. Besides this, there is the special delight that boyhood feels in a "collection." There is a quasi-scientific idea about it that makes it peculiarly precious, whether it be of butterflies, of eggs, of skins, or only of such poor lifeless things as fossils, or even post

The joy of pos

age stamps. When we were boys there was a singular gradation, in our estimation, of objects of value for the collection, corresponding exactly with the original vigor of life in the objects themselves. Thus, that which made the strongest appeal of all was the skin, stuffed or simply stretched and flattened, of a beast, a mammal. Next after this in glory came a bird, likewise stuffed or skinned. Then eggs, for they were potential bird life; and very near in estimation to the eggs came the butterflies and moths that had indeed for the moment more vigor of life than the bird's egg, but were less important in their vital potentialities-even as the bird is higher in the scale than the insects. We gave a passing attention to other insect life -to destroy it-such as the coleoptera and so on, and after that in our valuation came fossils. Fossils, as having once possessed a vitality, had far more importance in our eyes than mere mineralogical specimens that never had possessed the power of movement. Shells, such as we found by the seashore, attracted us little; for they were but the empty habitations. So too, it might be said, were the egg-shells; but their case was different, because we found them hidden from us by the cunning of the live parent bird, and, at the time that we found them, having the potential life within them. It was only by our own act, by the blowing, that these became empty habitations.

Why was it thus? Who shall explain it? Who that has studied human or inhuman nature as revealed by boy, whom Plato has called the most savage of all wild beasts, can arrive at the root of the matter? My own conviction is that the cause is closely associated with the hunting and the kill

ing instinct that lies dormant in the heart of every human being, an instinct that is a survival from man in the hunter stage of his social development. Even as we can see much of what we, who now are so highly civilized, were at the first beginning of society, by the study of the savage races of our own time-so, too, we see in boyhood many of the instincts that we are apt to suppose have been eradicated in the course of many generations of comparative civilization. But these problem guessings are beside the mark. Let us rather keep to the plain paths of fact.

However the race may have progressed, it would seem as if boyhood had made but slight advance along the way of civilization since Plato estimated him more savage than other wild beasts. And yet, in those happy days of our own boyhood, before the law had virtually said to us "Thou shalt not birds' nest," we had a code of mercy, no less than a code of honor, of our own. Neither perhaps coincided with those of persons of the mature age that understands the ethics of boyhood so little; but they were fairly strict codes, and possibly as lofty as they had need to be in their ideals. That we always acted up to them would be to say that we were much more than human-which was not the case--but perhaps, we achieved them more nearly than the grown man fulfils the maxims of his faith. Boyhood has a most devout belief in its own creeds, such as few are able to keep in any creed in their years of fuller


After all, the law had no cause to concern itself with us, who were loyal collectors and scientific persons, according to our conceptions of what science meant. To take all the eggs of a nest was against our code of mercy, and that is more than is to be said of the grown man collector. We made it

a matter of pride to take a proportion of the eggs without causing the bird to desert, and this in itself was a useful working principle, for it implied a close knowledge of the habits and dispositions of birds in general and of the particular dispositions of different kinds. Thus we knew what birds were shy sitters and layers, easily to be frightened from their nests, and what others were more resolute. We could show finesse in dealing with their various degrees of timidity. And we grew to know what birds would continue to lay on, egg after egg (the eggs generally becoming lower in the scale of color), as we took them away, and what others would not do this. So we gained an insight that we should not have won if our code had permitted a ruthless snatching of a whole nestful. Of course one has to speak of boyhood only as one has found it, or as one remembers it. There are many tribes of boy, even of British boy, and they live under different codes, so that it may well be that the maxims governing one tribe are quite different from those obeyed by another.

One of the things that our code of mercy or of honor forbade without reserve was the killing of a parent bird sitting on its nest. This was curious, for it cannot be that we were much touched by the sacredness of the maternal duties; but we did no doubt have a feeling that any such act as the slaughter, or even the capture, of a parent bird while looking after its young or its eggs was an outrage on delicate and nice sentiments. It was taking an unfair advantage. It was not playing the game. Even when we did capture unawares, as often and inevitably happened, one of the birds that nest in holes-say a tit in the hole of a tree or a wheatear in a rabbit hole of the seaward sandhills-we contented ourselves with holding the panting frightened little wretch in a hot

« ElőzőTovább »