Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest

By Adrian Desmond | Go to book overview

25
A Person of Respectability

HUXLEY'S SCIENTIFIC BROTHERHOOD gathered on a warm sunny Saturday 4 May 1878 - Hal's 53rd birthday - for Jess's wedding to her young architect Fred Waller. Only an unwell Tyndall was missing, but Louisa carried his blessing, which was 'as good as the parson's'. Hooker sent 'heaps of lovely flowers from Kew' and the bride wore the Darwins' gift, a ruby and diamond star. 'It is the first break in our family', Huxley told Haeckel, and he felt it. He 'was grey in colour from the suppressed emotion' as he walked Jess towards Canon Duckworth. Naturally this 'ecclesiastical part' was 'quite out of the question' for the blimpish Spencer, but he deigned to attend the 'social part' afterwards in his 'passive' way. 1 He milled with the barons of science and industry And at least one Right Honourable artist, John Collier, 'Jack' to everybody, son of a former Attorney‐ General and a constant presence in the lives of the arty girls.

'Married & done for' pronounced a footloose Mady, dangling her bevy of men. But the footsteps of fortune are slippery. Days later the marriage was overshadowed as the children came down with diphtheria, Mady dangerously so. Her throat was an agony She was gasping and feverish. Her blood poisoned, she 'lost her sight her speech, & lastly the use of her legs'. Clark and the family doctor stood by helpless. By 17 May Nettie was fraught and 'worn out with nursing'. By the 20th she herself had not had an hour's undisturbed sleep for a week. Hal's face showed the desperation as he watched Mady 'for several days hovering between life & death'. 'I never saw a man more crushed', said his lab technician Jeffrey Parker. 2

The day Mady began fighting for her life Huxley tore himself from her bedside to deliver the first of his Davis Lectures at the Zoological Society He started to talk on the common crayfish as a key to the

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Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Adrian Desmond *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • The Apostle Paul of the New Teaching xiii
  • Part One - The Devil's Disciple *
  • 1825-1846 Dreaming My Own Dreams *
  • 1 - Philosophy Can Bake No Bread 3
  • 2 - Son of the Scalpel 18
  • 3 - The Surgeon's Mate 36
  • 1846-1850 the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea *
  • 4 - Men-Of-War 53
  • 5 - An Ark of Promise 66
  • 6 - The Eighth Circle of Hell 86
  • 7 - Sepulchral Painted Savages 111
  • 8 - Homesick Heroes 129
  • 1850-1858 Lost in the Wilderness *
  • 9 - The Scientific Sadducee 149
  • 10 - The Season of Despair 172
  • 11 - The Jihad Begins 195
  • 12 - The Nature of the Beast 216
  • 13 - Empires of the Deep Past 231
  • 1858-1865 the New Luther *
  • 14 - The Eve of a New Reformation 251
  • 15 - Buttered Angels & Bellowing Apes 266
  • 16 - Reslaying the Slain 292
  • 17 - Man's Place 312
  • 1865-1870 the Scientific Swell *
  • 18 - Birds, Dinosaurs & Booming Guns 339
  • 19 - Eyeing the Prize 361
  • Part Two - Evolution's High Priest *
  • 1870-1884 Marketing the 'New Nature' *
  • 20 - The Gun in the Liberal Armoury 385
  • 21 - From the City of the Dead to the City of Science 411
  • 22 - Automatons 433
  • 23 - The American Dream 463
  • 24 - A Touch of the Whip 483
  • 25 - A Person of Respectability 495
  • 26 - The Scientific Woolsack 507
  • 1885-1895 the Old Lion *
  • 27 - Polishing off the G.O.M 537
  • 28 - Christ Was No Christian 562
  • 29 - Combating the Cosmos 583
  • 30 - Fighting Unto Death 600
  • Afterword *
  • Abbreviations 645
  • Notes 648
  • Bibliography 751
  • Index 783
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