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Then she went softly and took the bridle from the wall, and stole over to fling it over his head; but he started up, and, seizing the bridle, threw it over the woman, who was immediately changed into a spanking grey mare. And he led her out and jumped on her back and rode away as fast as the wind till he came to the forge.
“I don’t want to quarrel, aunt Caroline. Oh no; I never quarrelled with any one. And then you remind me of papa.”
It has always been the chief hindrance to a more rapid advance in botany, that the majority of writers simply collected facts, or if they attempted to apply them to theoretical purposes, did so very imperfectly. I have therefore singled out those men as the true heroes of our story who not only established new facts, but gave birth to fruitful thoughts and made a speculative use of empirical material. From this point of view I have taken ideas only incidentally thrown out for nothing more than they were originally; for scientific merit belongs only to the man who clearly recognises the theoretical importance of an idea, and endeavours to make use of it for the promotion of his science. For this reason I ascribe little value, for instance, to certain utterances of earlier writers, whom it is the fashion at present to put forward as the first founders of the theory of descent; for it is an indubitable fact that the theory of descent had no scientific value before the appearance of Darwin’s book in 1859, and that it was Darwin who gave it that value. Here, as in other cases, it appears to me only true and just to abstain from assigning to earlier writers merits to which probably, if they were alive, they would themselves lay no claim.
1.For the best part of an hour, in pursuance of her husband’s counsel, the Mistress sat and waited for the prodigal’s return. Then, surreptitiously, she made a round of the house; sent a man to ransack the stables, telephoned to the gate lodge, and finally came into the Master’s study, big-eyed and pale.
2.acknowledged; but my estimate of their importance for its advance would differ materially at the present moment from that contained in my History of Botany. At the same time I rejoice in being able to say that I may sometimes have overrated the merits of distinguished men, but have never knowingly underestimated them.>
But alas! my hour’s interview with her did much to sap and destroy my devotion. First of all, I must say that, previous to meeting her, I had been for a short time an Associate of the Theosophical Society. I was never admitted to membership of that body because I never claimed the privilege; my associateship originated in my desire to hear Orage lecture and in my anxiety to study some curious and not unintelligent people at first hand. Nothing is at once more distressing and more repellent to me than affectation, and the affectation of most members of the Theosophical Society whom I met was really appalling. The people were also grotesque. The men had dyspepsia and bald heads, and the women wore djibbahs 23and a look of condescending benevolence. They read Madame Blavatsky assiduously and gabbled nonsense to each other.
As I approached I was surprised to notice a familiar figure shouldering away from her. One still saw old Bill Gracy often enough in the outer purlieus of the big race-courses; but I wondered how he had got into the enclosure of a fashionable Polo Club. There he was, though, unmistakably; who could forget that swelling chest under the shabby-smart racing-coat, the gray top-hat always pushed back from his thin auburn curls, and the mixture of furtiveness and swagger which made his liquid glance so pitiful? Among the figures that rose here and there like warning ruins from the dead-level of old New York’s respectability, none was more typical than Bill Gracy’s; my gaze followed him curiously as he shuffled away from his daughter. “Trying to get more money out of her,” I concluded; and re