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128 FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

to pierce. In Goethe, so glorious otherwise, I chiefly
noticed the self-inflicted hurts of genius, as it broke itself
in vain against the philosophy of Newton. For a time,
Mr. Bain became my principal companion. I found him
learned and practical, shining generally with a dry light,
but exhibiting at times a flush of emotional strength, which
proved that even logicians share the common fire of hu-
manity. He interested me most when he became the
mirror of my own condition. Neither intellectually nor
socially is it good for man to be alone, and the griefs of
thought are more patiently borne when we find that they
have been experienced by another. From certain passages
in his book I could infer that Mr. Bain was no stranger to
such sorrows. Take this passage as an illustration. Speak-
ing of the ebb of intellectual force, which we all from time
to time experience, Mr. Bain says, “ The uncertainty where
to look for the next opening of discovery brings the pain of
conflict and the debility of indecision.” These words have
in them the true ring of personal experience. The action
of the investigator is periodic. He grapples with a subject
of inquiry, wrestles with it, overcomes it, exhausts, it may
be, both himself and it for the time being. He breathes a
space, and then renews the struggle in another field. N ow
this period of halting between two investigations is not
always one of pure repose. It is often a period of doubt
and discomfort, of gloom and ennui. “The uncertainty
where to look for the next opening of discovery brings the
pain of conflict and the debility of indecision.” Such was
my precise condition in the Alps this year; in a score of
words Mr. Bain has here sketched my mental diagnosis;
and it was under these evil circumstances that I had to
equip myself for the hour and the ordeal that are now
come.

Gladly, however, as I should have seen this duty in
other hands, I could by no means shrink from it. Disloy-

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