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justed mechanism in the human frame. A liberal education had, of course, left him free to read the indecent passages in the school classics, but, beyond a general sense of secrecy and obscenity in connection with his internal structure, had left his imagination quite unbiased, so that for anything he knew his brains lay in small bags at his temples, and he had no more thought of representing to himself how his blood circulated than how paper served instead of gold. But the moment of vocation had come, and before he got down from his chair, the world was made new to him by a presentiment of endless processes filling the vast spaces planked out of his sight by that wordy ignorance which he had supposed to be knowledge. From that hour Lydgate felt the growth of an intellectual passion.
We are not afraid of telling over and over again how a man comes to fall in love with a woman and be wedded to her, or else be fatally parted from her. Is it due to excess of poetry or of stupidity that we are never weary of describing what King James called a woman's “makdom and her fairnesse,” never weary of listening to the twanging of the old Troubadour strings, and are comparatively uninterested in that other kind of “ makdom and fairnesse which must be wooed with industrious thought and patient renunciation of small desires ? In the story of this passion, too, the development varies : sometimes it is the glorious marriage, sometimes frustration and final parting. And not seldom the catastrophe is wound up with the other passion, sung by the Troubadours. For in the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little. The story of their coming to be shapen after the average, and fit to be packed by the gross, is hardly ever told even in their consciousness; for perhaps their ardor for generous, unpaid toil cooled as imperceptibly as the ardor of other youthful loves, till one day their earlier self walked like a ghost in its old home and made the new furniture ghastly. Nothing in the world more subtle than the process of their gradual change! In the beginning they inhaled it unknowingly :
may have sent some of our breath toward infecting them, when we uttered our conforming falsities or drew our silly conclusions ; or perhaps it came with the vibrations from a woman's glance.
Lydgate did not mean to be one of those failures, and there was the better liope of him because his scientific interest soon took the
you and I
form of a professional enthusiasm; he had a youthful belief in his bread-winning work, not to be stifled by that initiation in make-shift called his 'prentice days; and he carried to his studies in London, Edinburgh, and Paris the conviction that the medical profession as it inight be was the finest in the world ; presenting the most perfect interchange between science and art; offering the most direct alliance between intellectual conquest and the social good. Lydgate's nature demanded this combination : he was an emotional creature, with a flesh-and-blood sense of fellowship which withstood all the abstractions of special study. He cared not only for “cases,” but for John and Elizabeth, especially Elizabeth.
DR. LYDGATE (continued).
Does it seem incongruous to you that a Middlemarch surgeon should dream of himself as a discoverer ? Most of us, indeed, know little of the great originators until they have been lifted up among the constellations, and already rule our fates. But that Herschel, for example, who “ broke the barriers of the heavens”.
did he not once play a provincial church organ, and give music-lessons to stumbling pianists ? Each of those Shining Ones had to walk on the earth among neighbors who perhaps thought much more of his gait and his garments than of anything which was to give him a title to everlasting
each of them had his little local personal history sprinkled with small temptations and sordid cares, which made the retariling friction of his course toward final companionship with the immortals. Lydgate was not blind to the dangers of such friction, but he had plenty of confidence in his resolution to avoid it as far as possible; being seven-and-twenty, he felt himself experienced.
Perhaps that was a more cheerful time for observers and theorizers than the present; we are apt to think it the finest era of the world when America was beginning to be discovered, when a bold sailor, even if he were wrecked, might alight on a new kingdom ; and about 1829 the dark territories of Pathology were a fine America for a spirited young adventurer. Lydgate was ambitious above all to contribute toward enlarging the scientific, rational basis of his profession. The more he became interested in special questions of disease, such as the nature of fever or fevers, the more keenly he felt the need for that fundamental knowledge of structure which just at
the beginning of the century had been illuminated by the brief and glorious career of Bichat, who died when he was only one-and-thirty, but, like another Alexander, left a realm large enough for many
heirs. That great Frenchman first carried out the conception that living bodies, fundamentally considered, are not associations of organs which can be understood by studying thein first apart, and then, as it were, federally; but must be regarded as consisting of certain primary webs or tissues, out of which the various organs - brain, heart, lungs, and so on- are compacted, as the various accommodations of a house are built up in various proportions of wood, iron, stone, brick, zinc, and the rest, each inaterial having its peculiar composition and proportions. No inan, one sees, can understand and estimate the entire structure or its parts, what are its frailties and what its repairs, without knowing the nature of the inaterials. And the conception wrought out by Bichat, with his detailed study of the different tissues, acted necessarily on medical questions as the turning of gaslight would act on a dim, oil-lit street, showing new connections and hitherto hidden facts of structure which must be taken into account in considering the symptoms of maladies and the action of medicaments.
But results which depend on human conscience and intelligence work slowly, and now most medical practice was still strutting or shambling along the old paths, and there was still scientific work to be done which might have seemed to be a direct sequence of Bichat’s. This great seer did not go beyond the consideration of the tissues as ultimate facts in the living organism, marking the limit of anatomical analysis ; but it was open to another mind to say, Have not these structures some common basis from which they have all started, as your sarcenet, gauze, net, satin, and velvet froin the raw cocoon ? Here would be another light, as of oxyhydrogen, showing the very grain of things, and revising all former explanations. Of this sequence to Bichat's work, already vibrating along many currents of the European mind, Lydgate was enamored; he longed to demonstrate the more intimate relations of living structure, and help to define men's thought more accurately after the true order. The work had not yet been done, but only prepared for those who knew how to use the preparation. What was the primitive tissue? In that way Lydgate put the question, — not quite in the way required by the awaiting answer; but such missing of the right word befalls many seekers. And he counted on quiet intervals to be watchfully seized for taking up the threads of investigation, on many hints to be won from diligent application, not only of the scalpel, but of the microscope, which research had begun to use again with new enthusiasm of reliance. Such was Lydgate's plan of his future: to do good small work for Middlemarch, and great work for the world.
He was certainly a happy fellow at this time; to be seven-andtwenty, without any fixed vices, with a generous resolution that his action should be beneficent, and with ideas in his brain that made life interesting, he was at a starting-point which makes inany a man's career a fine subject for betting, if there were any gentlemen given to that amusement who could appreciate the complicated probabilities of an arduous purpose, with all the possible thwartings and furtherings of circumstance, all the niceties of inward balance, by which a man swims and makes his point, or else is carried headlong. The risk would remain, even with close knowledge of Lydgate's character ; for character, too, is a process and an unfolding. The man was still in the making, as much as the Middlemarch doctor and immortal discoverer, and there were both virtues and faults capable of shrinking or expanding. The faults will not, I hope, be a reason for the withdrawal of your interest in him. Among our valued friends is there not some one or other who is a little too self-confident and disdainful, whose distinguished mind is a little spotted with commonness, who is a little pinched here and protuberant there with native prejudices, or whose better energies are liable to lapse down the wrong channel under the influence of transient solicitations ? All these things might be alleged against Lydgate, but then they are the periphrases of a polite preacher, who talks of Adam, and would not like to mention anything painful to the pew-renters. The particular faults from which these delicate generalities are distilled have distinguishable physiognomies, diction, accent, and grimaces ; filling up parts in very various dramas. Our vanities differ as our noses do; all conceit is not the same conceit, but varies in correspondence with the minutiæ of mental make in which one of us differs from another.
Lydgate's conceit was of the arrogant sort, never simpering, never impertinent, but massive in its claims, and benevolently contemptuous. He would do a great deal for noodles, being sorry for them, and feeling quite sure that they could have no power over him; he had thought of joining the Saint Simonians when he was in Paris, in order to turn them against some of their own doctrines. All his faults were inarked by kindred traits, and were those of a man who had a fine baritone, whose clothes hung well upon him, and who even in his ordinary gestures had an air of inbred distinction. Where, then, lay the spots of commonness ? says a young lady, enamored of that careless grace. How could there be any commonness in a man so well bred, so ambitious of social distinction, so generous and unusual in his views of social duty? As easily as there may be stupidity in a man of genius if you take him unawares on the wrong subject, or as many a man who has the best will to advance the social millennium might be ill inspired in imagining its lighter pleasures ; unable to go beyond Offenbach's music, or the brilliant punning in the last burlesque. Lydgate's spots of commonness lay in the complexion of his prejudices, which, in spite of noble intention and sympathy, were half of them such as are found in ordinary men of the world : that distinction of mind which belonged to his intellectual ardor did not penetrate his feeling and judgment about furniture, or women, or the desirability of its being known (without his telling) that he was better born than other country surgeons.
He did not mean to think of furniture at present; but whenever he did so, it was to be feared that neither biology nor schemes of reform would lift him above the vulgarity of feeling that there would be an incompati. bility in his furniture not being of the best.
A WORLDLY PICTURE.
EVERY limit is a beginning as well as an ending. Who can quit young lives after being long in company with them, and not desire to know what befell them in their after-years ? For the fragment of a life, however typical, is not the sample of an even web; promises may not be kept, and an ardent outset may be followed by declension ; latent powers may find their long-waited opportunity; a past error may urge a grand retrieval.
Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honeymoon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic, - the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which makes the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in comino:.