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      But what happened? persisted Sandy.

      To understand Descartes aright, we must provisionally disregard the account given in his work on Method of the process by which he arrived at a new theory of the world; for, in truth, there was nothing new about it except the pro388portion in which fragments taken from older systems were selected and recombined. As we have already noticed, there is no such thing as spinning philosophies out of ones own head; and, in the case of Descartes, even the belief that he was so doing came to him from Plato; for, along with Aristotles dogmatic errors, his sound teaching with regard to the derivation of knowledge had fallen into oblivion. The initial doubt of the Discourse on Method and the Meditations is also Platonic; only it is manifested under an individual and subjective, instead of a universal and objective form. But to find the real starting-point of Descartes enquiries we must look for it in his mathematical studies. A geometrician naturally conceives the visible world under the aspect of figured extension; and if he thinks the figures away, nothing will remain but extension as the ultimate material out of which all determinate bodies are shaped. Such was the result reached by Plato in his Timaeus. He identified matter with space, viewing this as the receptacle for his eternal and self-existent Ideas, or rather the plastic medium on which their images are impressed. The simplest spatial elements are triangles; accordingly it is with these that he constructs his solid bodies. The theory of triangular elements was probably suggested by Atomism; it is, in fact, a compromise between the purely mathematical and the materialistic methods. Like all Platos fancies, this theory of matter was attacked with such convincing arguments by Aristotle that, so long as his physics remained in the ascendent, it did not find a single supporter; although, as we saw in the last chapter, Plotinus very nearly worked his way back to it from the Peripatetic definition. Even now, at the moment of Aristotles fall, it might have failed to attract attention, had not the conditions under which it first arose been almost exactly repeated. Geometrical demonstration had again become the type of all reasoning; there was again a sceptical spirit abroad, forcing men to fall back on the most elementary and universal con389ceptions; an atomistic materialism again threatened to claim at least the whole field of physical enquiry for its own. That Descartes followed the Timaeus in identifying matter with extension cannot be doubted; especially when we see that he adopts Platos analysis of body into elementary triangles; but the theory agreed so well with his intellectual predispositions that he may easily have imagined it to be a necessary deduction from his own priori ideas. Moreover, after the first two steps, he parts company with Plato, and gives himself up, so far as his rejection of a vacuum will permit, to the mechanical physics of Democritus. Much praise has recently been bestowed on his attempt to interpret all physical phenomena in terms of matter and motion, and to deduce them from the unaided operation of natural causes; but this is no more than had been done by the early Greek thinkers, from whom, we may observe, his hypothesis of an initial vortex was also derived. His cosmogony is better than theirs, only in so far as it is adapted to scientific discoveries in astronomy and physiology not made by Descartes himself; for where his conjectures go beyond these they are entirely at fault.

      He counted out forty 5 Bank of England notes on the table with a hand that trembled strangely. He seemed restless and eager to be away now, as if fearful that Bruce might change his mind. The whole thing might have been a dream save for the crisp crackling notes on the table.An answer might conceivably have been supplied, had Aristotle been enable to complete that sketch of an ideal State which was originally intended to form part of his Politics. But the philosopher evidently found that to do so was beyond his powers. If the seventh and eighth books of that treatise, which contain the fragmentary attempt in question, had originally occupied the place where they now stand in our manuscripts, it might have been supposed that Aristotles labours were interrupted by death. Modern criticism has shown, however, that they should follow immediately after the first three books, and that the author broke off, almost at the beginning of his ideal polity, to take up the much more congenial task of analysing and criticising the actually existing Hellenic constitutions. But the little that he has done proves him to have been profoundly unfitted for the task of a practical reformer. What few actual recommendations it contains are a compromisesomewhat in the spirit of Platos Lawsbetween the Republic and real life. The rest is what he never fails to give usa mass of details about matters of fact, and a summary of his speculative ethics, along with counsels of moderation in the spirit of his practical ethics; but not one296 practical principle of any value, not one remark to show that he understood what direction history was taking, or that he had mastered the elements of social reform as set forth in Platos works. The progressive specialisation of political functions; the necessity of a spiritual power; the formation of a trained standing army; the admission of women to public employments; the elevation of the whole race by artificial selection; the radical reform of religion; the reconstitution of education, both literary and scientific, the redistribution of property; the enactment of a new code; the use of public opinion as an instrument of moralisation;these are the ideas which still agitate the minds of men, and they are also the ideas of the Republic, the Statesman, and the Laws. Aristotle, on the other hand, occupies himself chiefly with discussing how far a city should be built from the sea, whether it should be fortified; how its citizens should not be employed; when people should not marry; what children should not be permitted to see; and what music they should not be taught. Apart from his enthusiasm for philosophy, there is nothing generous, nothing large-minded, nothing inspiring. The territory of the city is to be self-sufficing, that it may be isolated from other States; the citizens are to keep aloof from all industrial occupations; science is put out of relation to the material well-being of mankind. It was, in short, to be a city where every gentleman should hold an idle fellowship; a city where Aristotle could live without molestation, and in the enjoyment of congenial friendships; just as the God of his system was a still higher Aristotle, perpetually engaged in the study of formal logic.

      Nor deem I that she comes as his ally,

      Charleroi was taken on August 22nd. On the evening of the 21st a small patrol had entered the town, and of these not a man escaped. But in the morning of the 22nd at seven o'clock a large force159 of Germans arrived and immediately began to burn and to shoot.

      The noble spirit of Marcus Aurelius was, indeed, proof against such temptations: and he had far more to dread than to hope from the unlightened voice of public opinion; but to him also, standing between two eternities, Nature presented herself chiefly under the aspect of an overwhelming and absorbing Power. Pleasure is not so much dangerous as worthless, weak, and evanescent. Selfishness, pride, anger, and discontent will soon be swept into abysmal gulfs of oblivion by the roaring cataract of change. Universal history is one long monotonous procession of phantasms passing over the scene into death and utter night. In one short life we may see all that ever was, or is, or is to be; the same pageant has already been and shall be repeated an infinite number of times. Nothing endures but the process of unending renovation: we must die that the world may be ever young. Death itself only reunites us with the absolute All whence we come, in which we move, and whither we return.103 But the imperial47 sage makes no attempt to explain why we should ever have separated ourselves from it in thought; or why one life should be better worth living than another in the universal vanity of things.

      The man looked at me with glittering eyes full of the passion of revenge. I pressed his hand and went on.


      Beppo crept to the door. He came back presently followed by two men. The latter one was dressed in superior fashion to the rest. With a yell Lalage flew across the room and turned the key in the lock.Somebodys on the winghes jumping clear! shouted Dick.