If however I were asked to point out the feature of this work which, in my opinion, most strikingly indicated the powers of Mrs Somerville's mind, I should unhesitatingly select the preliminary dissertation. In this we have an abstract of the Newtonian philosophy such as none but a master-mind could have produced. Apart from its scientific value-and it has great scientific value-it is a work of great literary merit. If it is not in plan and purpose altogether original, inasmuch as it must be regarded as to some degree an abstract of Laplace's Systeme du Monde, it is nevertheless, as Herschel has well remarked, 'an abstract so vivid and judicious as to have all the merit of originality, and such as could have been produced only by one accustomed to large and general views, as well as perfectly familiar with the particulars of the subject.'

Three years after the appearance of the Mechanism of the Heavens, Mrs. Somerville published the work by which she is probably best known to general readers. The Connexion of the Physical Sciences was, I believe, written at the suggestion of Lord Brougham, as an expansion of the admirable introduction to the Celestial Mechanism, It is a work full of interest, not only to the student of advanced science, but to the general reader. In saying this we indicate its chief merit and its most marked defect. It is impossible to conceive that any reader, no matter how advanced or how limited his knowledge, could fail to find many most instructive pages in this work; but it is equally impossible to conceive that any one reader could find the whole work, or even any considerable portion, instructive or useful.

The fact was that Mrs. Somerville recognised, or which is practically the same thing, wrote as if she recognised, no distinction between the recondite and the simple. She makes no more attempt at explanation when speaking of the perturbations of the planets or discussing the most profound problems of motecular physics, than when she is merely running over a series of statements respecting geographical or climatic relations. It would almost seem as though her mind was so constituted that the difficulties which ordinary minds experience in considering complex mathematical problems had no existence for her. A writer, to whom we owe one of the best obituary notices of Mrs. Somerville which hitherto have appeared, tells us that the sort of pressure Mrs. Somerville underwent from her publisher as the earlier editions of the Connexion of the Physical Sciences passed through the press 'convinced her of her own unfitness for popularising science. When there was already no time to lose in regard to her proof sheets, she had hint upon hint from Mr. Murray that this and that and the other paragraph required to be made plainer to popular comprehension. She declared that she tried very hard to please Mr. Murray and others who made the same complaint, but that every departure from scientific terms and formulas appeared to her a departure from clearness and simplicity; so that, by the time she had explained and described to the extent required, her statements seemed to her cumbrous and confused. In other words, this was not her proper work.'

Respecting her two other works, I shall merely remark that the Physical Geography appeared in 1848, and the Molecular and Microscopic Science in 1869, when she had reached the advanced age of eighty-eight years.

I may be excused for regarding Mary Somerville's life with reference rather to her astronomical and mathematical researches than to her proficiency in other branches of science. In this aspect of her career it is difficult, great as was the reputation she deservedly obtained, not to contemplate with regret those circumstances, the effects of unfortunate prejudices, whereby she was prevented from applying the full powers of her mind to the advancement of science. It is certain that no department of mathematical research was beyond her powers, and that in any she could have done original work. In mere mental grasp few men have probably surpassed her; but the thorough training, the scholarly discipline, which can alone give to the mind the power of advancing beyond the point up to which it has followed the guidance of others, had unfortunately been denied to her. Accordingly, while her writings show her power and her thorough mastery of the instruments of mathematical research, they are remarkable less for their actual value, though their value is great, than as indicating what, under happier auspices, she might have accomplished.

I have mentioned that Mrs. Somerville was twice married. By her first marriage she had one son, Mr. Woronzow Greig, since deceased. A few years after Captain Grreig's death she married her cousin, Dr.

Somerville, by which marriage she had three daughters, two of whom survive her. The latter years of her life (twenty-three years, we believe) were passed in Italy. It has been said by one who was well acquainted with the circumstances that ' the long exile which occupied the latter portion of her life was a weary trial to her. She carried a thoroughly Scotch heart in her breast; and the true mountaineer's longing for her native country sickened many an hour of many a tedious year. She liked London life, too, and the equal intercourses which students like herself can there enjoy; whereas, in Italy, she was out of place. She seldom met any one with whom she could converse on the subjects which interested her most; and if she studied, it could be for no further end than her own gratification. It was felt by her friends to be a truly pathetic incident that, of all people in the world, Mrs. Somerville should be debarred the sight of the singular comet of 1843; and the circumstance was symbolical of the whole case of her exile. The only Italian observatory which afforded the necessary implements was in a Jesuit establishment, where no woman was allowed to pass the threshold. At the same hour her heart yearned towards her native Scotland, and her intellect hungered for the congenial intercourse of London; and she looked up at the sky with the mortifying knowledge of what was to be seen there but for the impediment which barred her access to the great telescope at hand. With all her gentleness of temper and her lifelong habit of acquiescence, she suffered deeply, while many of her friends were indignant at the sacrifice.'

I shall venture to quote, in conclusion, some remarks by Sir Henry Holland on features of Mrs. Somerville's character and life which have been hidden from general knowledge:- 'She was a woman not of science only,' he tells us, 'but of refined and cultivated tastes. Her paintings and musical talents might well have won admiration, even had there been nothing else beyond them. Her classical attainments were considerable, derived probably from that early part of life when the gentle Mary Fairfax - gentle she must ever have been was enriching her mind by quiet study in her Scotch home. ... A few words more on the moral part of Mrs. Somerville's character; and here, too, I speak from intimate knowledge. She was the gentlest and kindest of human beings-qualities well attested even by her features and conversation, but expressed still more in all the habits of her domestic and social life. Her modesty and humility were as remarkable as those talents which they concealed from common observation.

......Scotland,' he justly adds, 'is proud of having produced a Crichton. She may be proud, also, in having given birthplace to Mary Somerville.'

(From Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society for February, 1873.)