« ElőzőTovább »
Here the Professor threw himself You are the mere offspring of a morunconsciously into a lecturing atti- bid sensibility, and only fools and tude, and struck the table with a skeptics have any belief in you !” heavy ruler.
“But, one word.” The ghost getting rather impatient “Not a word; I know all your and a little nettled, advanced to the relations; there is Dr. Gregory's old table and putting one hand on his hag, who used to strike people with hip oratorically, stretched the other her crutch.” deprecatingly towards the Professor, “My grandmother on my father's whose courage increased every min- side,” said the ghost consequenute the more scientifically heated tially. “Mother Shipton was my he got.
aunt.” "Just one moment,” said the “Sorry for it ; for she was no ghost, “if I may be permitted by great things. I've seen too many my friend from Guy's.”
ghosts, sir, as some great person once - I have devoted much time to said, ever to believe in them—a pack these cases,” said the Professor (he of rubbish. The man who believes was one of those men you constantly in a ghost, I tell you, ought to be meet, who have always “devoted sent to an hospital.” much time" to whatever subject you The quiet, "dittoing ghost sugare discussing), “and I know all gested “Guy's,” and smiled. the precedents; they are all classi- “I know the ghost in the tamfied; there was Dr. Ferriar, and boured waistcoat, and the skeleton Monsieur Nicholai, the celebrated that looked between the bed-curbookseller of Berlin.”
tains and frightened the doctor," "I often meet him," said the said the Professor. ghost.
“ Daren't look behind you, "About the year 1791," said the though !” said the Polish ghost in a Professor, treading down all inter- nagging and malicious way. ruptions, “Nicholai began to be At this sneer the ghost from Guy's visited by crowds of ghosts.” rubbed his knees harder than ever,
"I was one of them,” said the and laughed till he rocked again. Polish ghost. The skeleton from “ Daren't I,'' said the Doctor, and Guy's nodded, and bleared through turned quietly round; then, snapa quite superfluous eyeglass, to in- ping back again, and catching the dicate that he was another.
gentleman from Poland sliding for• Crowds of phantasmata,” con- ward to try and pull his coat and tinued Gaster, " who moved and frighten him, he deliberately acted before him, who addressed snatched up his heavy ruler, and him, and to whom without fear he hit the Pole a rattling blow on his spoke, knowing that they were symp- bare skull; at which the Pole grew toms of a certain derangement of angry, and the friend from Guy's health, such as suicidal feelings, and laughed more than ever. indeed all melancholy, arise from.” “How about Maupertuis' ghost ?
“ Ladies and gentlemen,” said the That's a settler, I think," said the ghost, entreating silence, and ac- Pole, stepping back to a safe distually winking slyly at the Professor. tance from the table, and thrusting
“Silence, sir! You are a mere in the remark spitefully. phantom, the result of hectic symp- “The mere fancy of a possible toms, febrile and inflammatory dis- event. Remember the ghost that orders, inflammation of the brain, the captain sat down upon in the nervous irritability, hypochondria, arm-chair, and then followed into gout, apoplexy, the inhalation of bed-eh! Halloa ! What, not a gases, or delirium tremens. Go! word to fling to a dog-what, quite
chopfallen! Sir, I shall put you in “But she didn't dream," said my next lecture.”
Poland. “Don't, don't,” said both ghosts, "No, she didn't dream,” said in a whining voice; “ we'll go Guy's, resorting again to his eyequietly away if you promise not glass.
“But I say she did,” said the Pro"Miserable impostors, begone! I fessor. know all your petty tricks—the “She didn't." voice that called Dr. Johnson-the “She did.” young ensign who died of over “She didn't." smoking at Kitchemegar, and that “But I attended her great aunt, same night went and terrified his poor and I ought to know,'' said the Prosister, for no reason in the world, fessor. at No. 999 Gower Street. Bah!" The skeleton from Guy's here
“But, my dear sir, a moment's clenched his fist, but the ghost from patience; let me put one argument Poland groaned. before you. Look at the haunted “ It's no use," said the latter. houses in Great Britain, the rooms “Not a bit,” said the former. where no one can be induced, by “On my word of honor, my dear even the boundless wealth of the sir,” said the ghost from Poland, antipodes,' to sleep; look at the trying once more, and laying his clashing of our chains, the white hand on the vacuity where his heart shrouds, the groans, the-". ought to have been, “it was not a
As the Polish skeleton here got out dream." of breath, his lungs being evidently “It was not a dream, on my conout of order, the Professor slipped science,” said Guy's. in and continued his honest tirade. “Now look you here, gentlemen,"
“ Stuff about your haunted houses said the Doctor, getting red in the -noises, all rats and draughts-un- face, and seriously angry, “I have natural deaths, bad sewers—the borne this, I think, long enough. I
chains, rusty weathercocks—and all have proved to you both that you · the rest, the tricks of deceiving ser- don't exist; why don't you go civilly vants, smugglers, or thieves."' like gentlemen?" (The Doctor rather
Here the ghost from Poland shrug- slurred the pronunciation of this ged his shoulders and looked pit- word.) “You are impostors, scareeously at the ghost from Guy's; then crows, mere bubbles; air, vapor, both shrugged their shoulders nois- thought. Begone; or, I give you ily.
fair notice, if you are not off in five “But the wet ensign who comes minutes by that clock, I will ring and tells his sister he is drowned at the bell, fire off a double-barrel gun, Cutchemabobbery, in the Madras spring a rattle, throw open the front Presidency !"
door, and alarm the street !” "Ah! what about the wet en- This threat seemed to have a great sign?" said the ghost from Guy's, effect on the two skeletons. Guy's backing up his friend's query in a sat down and warmed his shinbones posing and rather hurt sort of way. again in a desponding manner, but
“ Curse the wet ensign! A frivo- on Poland touching his shoulder, lous sister, nervous with incessant they both got up and began to whislate hours, too much eau de Cologne, per together in a violent and agitated and the perusal of a sensation novel, way. They were evidently going. has apprehensions about her brother in India, eventually goes to sleep The Doctor fell suddenly into a over the piano, and dreams she sees deep sleep. He did not awake until him dripping.”
Betsy Jane, the housemaid, came in, to “do" the room at seven A.M. called that vision and sleep the reThat fair vestal found the gas burn- sult of “over-study," but his eneing, and the Doctor fast asleep in his mies (and what great man is not armchair.
troubled with such vermin ?) called In alluding to the event after it “ too much of Mrs. Fitz-Jones's wards, Dr. Gaster's friends always champagne.”
NATURAL SCIENCE IN ITS HIGHER ASPECTS.
THE nineteenth century will be researches extended only to the most a memorable period in the world's ordinary objects within reach. Pythhistory. The progress made during agoras early gave it as his opinion it in the knowledge of the material that all nature consisted of earth, universe is simply marvellous. We air, fire, and water, and that all of have investigated our own peculiar these were necessary although antagbodily mechanism, peered into the onistic to each other. All who folmost secret recesses of nature, and lowed him adopted his opinion, unhave grasped very many of those til the time of the middle ages, physical laws by which our world is when the doctrine that all material regulated. Besides, we have turned substances are only modifications of aside from our own globe,—it was an original element took root. From too small for the extent of increasing this arose the idea of the transmuresearch,—and we have solved the tation of metals and the elixir of mysteries of the boundless heaven. life. It remained for the invention These investigations of nature which of many of our most necessary scienwe are bringing to such perfection, tific instruments to dispel these illuwere so imperfect till within the sions. The inability to comprehend last few centuries that they con- causes of the most common events sisted of only a collection of facts, of nature, such as thunder and lightand were thought by the old philos- ning, or to obtain an understanding ophers unworthy of the name of of the stars, sun, and the moon, gave science. Modern research has, how- rise to many superstitions. Man ever, accomplished so much that suffered in many ways from such an while one in ordinary life may re- absence of scientific knowledge, and main ignorant of the vast and subtle it is only by a comparison of our machinery of mental science, he times with those days that we can cannot remain unacquainted with properly appreciate our advantages. the most important principles of the From an increase in our knowlphilosophy of nature. We have no edge of the powers of nature, we longer a mere bundle of events and derive many of the benefits enjoyed curious phenomena; we have de- by us at the present day. Although duced from a study of nature a beau- man has not curbed his passions, tiful system of knowledge, depend- yet he has come to respect human ing one part on another, and all life and human interests from reasons illustrated with surprising ingenuity. based on natural science. War is
It is interesting to note how the · decreasing in its horrors, pain is allelearned men of olden time pursued viated by the most appropriate remethe investigation of nature. Their dies, and life is protected by the most skilful inventions and carefully the lightning and the tempest, it prepared medicines.
brings us face to face with his power The world is encompassed by man's in the earthquake and the flood, and knowledge, and as he advances his shows his infinite wisdom in the mundane researches he seeks for manifold creation of animal and exactness and certainty in every plant to suit the place for which they branch of his investigations. Meas- were designed. No man can be a urements of meridians, observations true natural philosopher and fail to of eclipses, and of transits of planets, detect the hand of One that is for the knowledge of time, light, and mightier than he in all that goes on the position of the earth in the uni- around him. The man who makes verse, all occupy his attention. To his researches culminate in the make his knowledge of the globe theory that nothing can produce greater, exploring expeditions have something, is one who forgets the been sent into ice and snow to seek dignity of his manhood, and who out the hitherto inaccessible North imagines he is using his reason to Pole, and across burning deserts to the best advantage when he uses it to trace the line of the Equator. destroy his noblest aspirations, and
What is the object of all this vari. to blot out the belief in a better ous and complex research amid the element of his being. mysteries of nature? The readiest Science is not the dull spiritless voanswer that can be given is that it cation ofone wearily plodding on with advances the material convenience the vain hope of grasping the unatof man. But if it could do no more tainable, of acquiring the knowledge it would not deserve the name of and power of the Deity, but it has science; it would stand no higher usefulness, and possesses a living than does the capability of money- force more fascinating, perhaps, for getting. We know that we can span its student than music is for the muthe earth as quick as the lightning sician, painting for the artist, or the flash, that distance is practically an- muse for the poet. It has, indeed, nihilated, and places are brought true poetry: for what is poetry? It near, that familiar voices may be is the language of the beautiful. heard from afar, and that every com- Coleridge says it is “the blossom fort and luxury is furnished us by and fragrance of all human emotions, science. But this can avail us no passions, human thoughts, and knowlmore than our daily food if it bring edge." Truly a poetic definition, us not into closer contemplation of and one that expresses the poetry of the Creator of what has furnished natural science ; for this is a branch us the material for our convenience. of human knowledge which possesses Science explains the plan of opera- blossom and fragrance in plenty. tion manifested in the whole uni- Poets derive much of their poetry verse, and although it has not from the contemplation of external reached that point at which it can nature, and if the external give such explain every process of nature, a vibration to the more delicate throws a flood of light on the won- chords of the human soul, why may ders of creation. It reveals the laws not a more intimate view of nature that govern the mighty globes re- cause the same feelings? It seems to volving amid the immensity of space, be so, for it was said of Sir Humand exhibits the reason of the va phry Davy that if he had not been rious phenomena of inorganic and the best chemist of his age, he would animate matter upon the earth, while have been its best poet. Many noted it points with unerring finger at the scientific men in their few leisure solemn and inevitable fact that there hours have turned poets for recreais a God. It unveils his majesty in tion, while others, such as Tyndall and Huxley, possess a poetic charm stepping the boundaries of natural of thought and expression which science; for it, although apparently they seem to use as velvet sheath for so extensive, has its limits. When the steel of their cunningly devised an astronomer tells us that such a theories. Dr. Dalton, the eminent star is so and so we may implicitly physiologist, also manifests the po- trust him, but when he tells us that etic instinct in his admirable descrip- he finds no God at the end of his tions of the senses and powers of telescope, we must consider that he is the human body, and sometimes in- beyond the bounds of his science. vests his subject with as true a poetic Because a man is a good physicist, halo as the poet does his hero. In it does not follow that he is a good fact man cannot approach nature in theologian or linguist. Therefore a kindly manner, even under the his judgments must be taken for what guidance of science, without feeling they are worth ; and if he sets hima sense of the beautiful within him, self up in theology or languages, they which can only be called the “poetry are probably worth nothing. So of the soul," although it does not must we deal with the theorists of break forth in words.
the present day. In their scientific Besides, it behooves us to study domain we will consider their demscience as a shield for our inost onstrations of the greatest value, cherished principles of religion. but any attempt outside of that may Unfortunately the science of the be worth nothing, or be positively present day seems directed toward reprehensible. the annihilation of the belief in a In conclusion, then, to quote the personal God, and the worship of sentiments of the Vatican Council, him. Misdirected science would “Let science increase and advance, have us believe that there is a uni- but always in its own domain, and versal all-pervading force, without guided by Revelation : for the same any attribute of omniscience or om- God who revealed the truths of renipotence, from which all things have ligion is also the God of science, and been evolved, a belief which we always the God of truth, and truth must combat by being able to resist can never be in contradiction with its advocates upon their own ground. truth." The mistake has been made by over