mature indulgence of the impulse to turn hypothesis into theory. Of my mental peculiarities there is no occasion to say more.
The house as well as the family was of some anti≠quity, but no description of it is necessary to the under≠standing of my narrative. It contained a fine library, whose growth began before the invention of printing, and had continued to my own time, greatly influenced, of course, by changes of taste and pursuit. Nothing surely can more impress upon a man the transitory nature of possession than his succeeding to an ancient property ! Like a moving panorama mine has passed from before many eyes, and is now slowly flitting from before my own.
The library, although duly considered in many alterations of the house and additions to it, had never≠theless, like an encroaching state, absorbed one room after another until it occupied the greater part of the ground floor. Its chief room was large, and the walls of it were covered with books almost to the ceiling; the rooms into which it overflowed were of various sizes and shapes, and communicated in modes as variousóby doors, by open arches, by short passages, by steps up and steps down.
In the great room I mainly spent my time, reading books of science, old as well as new; for the history of the human mind in relation to supposed knowledge was what most of all interested me. Ptolemy, Dante, the two Bacons, and Boyle were even more to me than Darwin or Maxwell, as so much nearer the vanished van breaking into the dark of ignorance.
In the evening of a gloomy day of August I was sitting in mv usual place, my back to one of the