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But we see from the condition of our moon how the withdrawal of water and air from the scene must diminish the sun's power of levelling the irregularities of the earth's surface. We say advisedly diminish, not destroy; for there can be no question that the solar heat alternating with the cold of the long lunar night is still at work levelling, however slowly, the moon's surface; and the same will be the case with our earth when her oceans and atmosphere have disappeared by slow processes of absorption.

The power actually at work at present in producing rain, and so indirectly in levelling the earth's surface, is enormous. We have shown elsewhere that the amount of heat required to evaporate a quantity of water which would cover an area of 100 square miles to a depth of 1 inch would be equal to the heat which would be produced by the combustion of half a million tons of coals, and that the amount of force of which this consumption of heat would be the equivalent corresponds to that which would be required to raise a weight of upwards of one thousand millions of tons to a height of 1 mile. When we remember that the land surface of our earth amounts to about fifty millions of square miles, we perceive how enormous must be the force-equivalent of the annual rainfall of our earth. We are apt to overlook when contemplating the silent and seemingly quiet processes of nature such as the formation of the rain-cloud or the precipitation of rain-the tremendous of the forces really causing these processes. "I have seen," says energy Professor Tyndall, "the wild stone-avalanches of the Alps, which smoke and thunder down the declivities with a vehemence almost sufficient to stun the observer. I have also seen snow-flakes descending so softly as not to hurt the fragile spangles of which they were composed; yet to produce from aqueous vapour a quantity which a child could carry of that tender material demands an exertion of energy competent to gather up the shattered blocks of the largest stone avalanche I have ever seen, and pitch them to twice the height from which they fell."

VOL. XXXV.-No. 208.






HE news which had produced so sudden and startling an effect upon the inmates of No. 7 had been known early in the morning of the same day to the inmates of No. 8. This it was which had prevented either of the young men from paying their ordinary visits; but the wonder was that no rumour should have Greached at least the kitchen of Mr. Beresford's house of the sad news which had arrived next door. Probably the reason was that the servants were all fully occupied, and had no time for conversation. The news

had come early, conveyed by Mr. Sommerville personally and by post from the official head-quarters, for Mr. Meredith was a civil servant of standing and distinction. There was nothing extraordinary or terrible in it. He had been seized with one of the rapid diseases of the climate, and had succumbed like so many other men, leaving everything behind him settled and in order. It was impossible that a wellregulated and respectable household could have been carried on with less reference to the father of the children, and nominal master of the house, than Mrs. Meredith's was; but perhaps this was one reason why his loss fell upon them all like a thunderbolt. Dead! no one had ever thought of him as a man who could die. The event brought him near them as with the rapidity of lightning. Vaguely in their minds, or at least in the wife's mind, there had been the idea of some time or other making up to him for that long separation and estrangement-how, she did not inquire, and when, she rather trembled to think of, but some time. The idea of writing a kinder letter than usual to him had crossed her mind that very morning. They did not correspond much; they had mutually found each other incompatible, unsuitable, and lately Mrs. Meredith had been angry with the distant husband, who had been represented as disapproving of her. But this morning, no later, some thrill of more kindly

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feeling had moved her. She had realised all at once that it might be hard for him to be alone in the world, and without that solace of the boys, which from indifference, or from compunction, he had permitted her to have without interference all these years. She had thought that after all it was cruel, after such a long time, to deny him a share in his own children, and she had resolved, being in a serious mood and agitated state of mind, to make the sacrifice, or to attempt to make the sacrifice more freely, and to write to him to express her gratitude to him for leaving her both the boys so long: had not he a right to them no less than hers?—in the eye of nature no less, and in the eye of the law more, Yet he had been generous to her, and had never disputed her possession of her children. These were the softening thoughts that had filled her mind before she came downstairs. And no sooner had she come down than the news arrived. He was dead. When those die who are the most beloved and cherished, the best and dearest, that calamity which rends life asunder and overclouds the world for us, has seldom in it the same sickening vertigo of inappropriateness which makes the soul sick when some one essentially earthly is suddenly carried away into the unseen, with which he seems to have had nothing to do all his previous life. He! dead! a man so material, of the lower earth. What could dying be to him? What connection had he with the mystery and solemnity of the unseen? The vulgar and commonplace awe us more at these dread portals than the noble or great. What have they to do there? What had a man like Mr. Meredith to do there! Yet he had gone, no one knowing, and accomplished that journey which classes those who have made it, great and small, with the gods. A hundred discordant thoughts entered into his wife's mind--compunction, and wonder, and solemn trembling. Could he have known what she had been thinking that morning? Was it some dumb approach of his soul to hers which had aroused these more tender thoughts? Had he been aware of all that had gone on in her mind since the time when, she knowing of it, he had died? Nature has always an instinctive certainty, whatever philosophy may say against it, and however little religion may say in favour of it, that this sacred and mysterious event of death somehow enlarges and expands the being of those who have passed under its power. Since we lost them out of our sight, it seems so necessary to believe that they see through us more than ever they did, and know what is passing within the hearts to which they were kindred. Why should the man, who living had concerned himself so little about what his wife did, know now instantaneously all about it, having died? She could not have given a reason, but she felt it to be so. The dark ocean, thousands of miles of it, what was that to an emancipated soul! He had died in India; but he was there, passing mysteriously through the doors, standing by her, "putting things into her head," in this corner of England. Which of us has not felt the same strange certainty? All at once the house seemed full of him, even to the children, who had scarcely known him. He was

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