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A Student's Reminiscences

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Abstract

IT was in the year 1875 that I, a curate of a London parish-S. Alban's, Holborn-was bold enough to introduce myself to Prof. Huxley. I had not b^,en invited by him, or commended to him, nor had I any 1 sort of claim upon the time and attention of so famous and so busy a man. I simply made a venture and knocked at the door of his private room on the top floor of the Science Schools, South Kensington. He was writing what seemed to be the minutes of a society meeting, of which he was secretary. Whatever he may have felt of annoyance at the intrusion and interruption of a stranger at so inconvenient a moment, he showed no trace of it in his manner, but simply asked my business. I told him that I had read and had been impressed by his remonstrance with the clergy who had denounced his teaching without having made themselves acquainted with even the first principles of the science upon which his teaching was based. Not that I myself had been guilty of that particular kind of folly, but I was conscious of an ignorance as complete as theirs, and was at a loss how to get at the knowledge that I lacked, not finding much that served my purpose in the text-books of the time. It was this sense of my ignorance that drove me to him for help. He treated me and my appeal with perfect courtesy, offered me a chair and a cigar, and proceeded to give me an outline of the course of instruction which he was just about to commence. The course lasted several weeks, and included a daily lecture, followed by some hours of practical work on the subject of the lecture in his laboratory.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/115751b0

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