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      "On what charge, may I ask?" she demanded.

      Our critics are not content with bringing up Aristotle as an authority on the metaphysical controversies of the present day, and reading into him theories of which he never dreamed:279 they proceed to credit him with modern opinions which he would have emphatically repudiated, and modern methods which directly reverse his scientific teaching. Thus Sir A. Grant takes advantage of an ambiguity in the word Matter, as used respectively by Aristotle and by contemporary writers, to claim his support for the peculiar theories of Prof. Ferrier; although the Stagirite has recorded his belief in the reality and independence of material objects (if not of what he called matter) with a positiveness which one would have thought left no possibility of misunderstanding him.168 And Mr. Wallace says that Aristotle recognises the genesis of things by evolution and development; a statement which, standing where it does, and with no more qualifications than are added to it, would make any reader not versed in the subject think of the Stagirite rather as a forerunner of Mr. Darwin and Mr. Herbert Spencer, than as the intellectual ancestor of their opponents; while, on a subsequent occasion, he quotes a passage about the variations of plants under domestication, from a work considered to be un-Aristotelian by the best critics, apparently with no other object than that of finding a piece of Darwinism in his author.169

      That deadly fear was coming on her again. It was hard to be baffled and beaten at every turn like this, and yet not be able to strike a single blow in return. There was the haunting terror that her enemies knew too much, and that the sword would fall when they pleased. Otherwise the cruel, greedy nature of Maitrank would never have held her off like this. He seemed to be resigned to the loss of the money, but he was evidently going to take it out in another way. Leona would have given years of her life to know which way.

      For the first time Lawrence showed signs of indignation. Cool and logical as he had hitherto been, he could not quite restrain himself in the presence of this woman, who had no shame or remorse, or anything save admiring curiosity.

      "Yes, men, what the gentleman says is true."

      And the other noise, the purring and whirring, resumed this time so close to Arthur that he instinctively, and half in fear, arose from the stile and looked around him. But the tall hedges sweeping away on either side[Pg 77] made it difficult to see anyone who might be approaching under their cover. There was a pause. Then a different sound.


      The dishonour was for the townsmen who, in an outbreak of insane fanaticism, drove the blameless truthseeker from his adopted home. Anaxagoras was the intimate companion of Pericles, and Pericles had made many enemies by his domestic as well as by his foreign policy. A coalition of harassed interests and offended prejudices was formed against him. A cry arose that religion and the constitution were in danger. The Athenians had too much good sense to dismiss their great democratic Minister, but they permitted the illustrious statesmans political opponents to strike at him through his friends.29 Aspasia was saved only by the tears of her lover. Pheidias, the grandest, most spiritual-minded artist of all time, was arrested on a charge of impiety, and died in a prison of the city whose temples were adorned with the imperishable monuments of his religious inspiration. A decree against astronomers and atheists was so evidently aimed at Anaxagoras that the philosopher retired to Lampsacus, where he died at the age of seventy-two, universally admired and revered. Altars dedicated to Reason and Truth were erected in his honour, and for centuries his memory continued to be celebrated by an annual feast.30 His whole existence had been devoted to science. When asked what made life worth living, he answered, The contemplation of the heavens and of the universal cosmic order. The reply was like a title-page to his works. We can see that specialisation was38 beginning, that the positive sciences were separating themselves from general theories about Nature, and could be cultivated independently of them. A single individual might, indeed, combine philosophy of the most comprehensive kind with a detailed enquiry into some particular order of phenomena, but he could do this without bringing the two studies into any immediate connexion with each other. Such seems to have been the case with Anaxagoras. He was a professional astronomer and also the author of a modified atomic hypothesis. This, from its greater complexity, seems more likely to have been suggested by the purely quantitative conception of Leucippus than to have preceded it in the order of evolution. Democritus, and probably his teacher also, drew a very sharp distinction between what were afterwards called the primary and secondary qualities of matter. Extension and resistance alone had a real existence in Nature, while the attributes corresponding to our special sensations, such as temperature, taste, and colour, were only subjectively, or, as he expressed it, conventionally true. Anaxagoras affirmed no less strongly than his younger contemporaries that the sum of being can neither be increased nor diminished, that all things arise and perish by combination and division, and that bodies are formed out of indestructible elements; like the Atomists, again, he regarded these elementary substances as infinite in number and inconceivably minute; only he considered them as qualitatively distinct, and as resembling on an infinitesimal scale the highest compounds that they build up. Not only were gold, iron, and the other metals formed of homogeneous particles, but such substances as flesh, bone, and blood were, according to him, equally simple, equally decomposable, into molecules of like nature with themselves. Thus, as Aristotle well observes, he reversed the method of Empedocles, and taught that earth, air, fire, and water were really the most complex of all bodies, since they supplied39 nourishment to the living tissues, and therefore must contain within themselves the multitudinous variety of units by whose aggregation individualised organic substance is made up.31 Furthermore, our philosopher held that originally this intermixture had been still more thoroughgoing, all possible qualities being simultaneously present in the smallest particles of matter. The resulting state of chaotic confusion lasted until Nous, or Reason, came and segregated the heterogeneous elements by a process of continuous differentiation leading up to the present arrangement of things. Both Plato and Aristotle have commended Anaxagoras for introducing into speculation the conception of Reason as a cosmic world-ordering power; both have censured him for making so little use of his own great thought, for attributing almost everything to secondary, material, mechanical causes; for not everywhere applying the teleological method; in fact, for not anticipating the Bridgewater Treatises and proving that the world is constructed on a plan of perfect wisdom and goodness. Less fortunate than the Athenians, we cannot purchase the work of Anaxagoras on Nature at an orchestral book-stall for the moderate price of a drachma; but we know enough about its contents to correct the somewhat petulant and superficial criticism of a school perhaps less in sympathy than we are with its authors method of research. Evidently the Clazomenian philosopher did not mean by Reason an ethical force, a power which makes for human happiness or virtue, nor yet a reflecting intelligence, a designer adapting means to ends. To all appearances the Nous was not a spirit in the sense which we attach, or which Aristotle attached to the term. It was, according to Anaxagoras, the subtlest and purest of all things, totally unmixed with other substances, and therefore able to control and bring them into order. This is not how men speak of an immaterial inextended consciousness. The truth is that no40 amount of physical science could create, although it might lead towards a spiritualistic philosophy. Spiritualism first arose from the sophistic negation of an external world, from the exclusive study of man, from the Socratic search after general definitions. Yet, if Nous originally meant intelligence, how could it lose this primary signification and become identified with a mere mode of matter? The answer is, that Anaxagoras, whose whole life was spent in tracing out the order of Nature, would instinctively think of his own intelligence as a discriminating, identifying faculty; would, consequently, conceive its objective counterpart under the form of a differentiating and integrating power. All preceding thinkers had represented their supreme being under material conditions, either as one element singly or as a sum total where elemental differences were merged. Anaxagoras differed from them chiefly by the very sharp distinction drawn between his informing principle and the rest of Nature. The absolute intermixture of qualities which he presupposes bears a very strong resemblance both to the Sphairos of Empedocles and to the fiery consummation of Heracleitus, it may even have been suggested by them. Only, what with them was the highest form of existence becomes with him the lowest; thought is asserting itself more and more, and interpreting the law of evolution in accordance with its own imperious demands.


      The official-looking man stepped forward. As he came into the light Bruce recognised him for Sergeant Prout. A sense of uneasiness came over him. Prout touched his cap and then indicated the notes.


      "I'll tell you," she said. "I procured a letter of yours. I cut out words here and there, and made a long letter of them. Then I had the whole thing photographed. After that my task was easy, it was only a matter of time. Even from a child I always had a gift that way. If you will give me paper and pen I will show you."