Health and Education eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about Health and Education.

As to the story of his unhappy quarrels with his wife, there may be a grain of truth in it likewise.  Vesalius’ religion must have sat very lightly on him.  The man who had robbed churchyards and gibbets from his youth was not likely to be much afraid of apparitions and demons.  He had handled too many human bones to care much for those of saints.  He was probably, like his friends of Basle, Montpellier, and Paris, somewhat of a heretic at heart, probably somewhat of a pagan.  His lady, Anne van Hamme, was probably a strict Catholic, as her father, being a councillor and master of the exchequer at Brussels, was bound to be; and freethinking in the husband, crossed by superstition in the wife, may have caused in them that wretched vie a part, that want of any true communion of soul, too common to this day in Catholic countries.

Be these things as they may—­and the exact truth of them will now be never known—­Vesalius set out to Jerusalem in the spring of 1564.  On his way he visited his old friends at Venice to see about his book against Fallopius.  The Venetian republic received the great philosopher with open arms.  Fallopius was just dead; and the senate offered their guest the vacant chair of anatomy.  He accepted it:  but went on to the East.

He never occupied that chair; wrecked upon the Isle of Zante, as he was sailing back from Palestine, he died miserably of fever and want, as thousands of pilgrims returning from the Holy Land had died before him.  A goldsmith recognised him; buried him in a chapel of the Virgin; and put up over him a simple stone, which remained till late years; and may remain, for aught I know, even now.

So perished, in the prime of life, “a martyr to his love of science,” to quote the words of M. Burggraeve of Ghent, his able biographer and commentator, “the prodigious man, who created a science at an epoch when everything was still an obstacle to his progress; a man whose whole life was a long struggle of knowledge against ignorance, of truth against lies.”

Plaudite:  Exeat:  with Rondelet and Buchanan.  And whensoever this poor foolish world needs three such men, may God of his great mercy send them.


{15} 9, Adam Street, Adelphi, London.

{72} I quote from the translation of the late lamented Philip Stanhope Worsley, of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

{76} Odyssey, book vi. 127-315; vol. i. pp. 143-150 of Mr. Worsley’s translation.

{88} Since this essay was written, I have been sincerely delighted to find that my wishes had been anticipated at Girton College, near Cambridge, and previously at Hitchin, whence the college was removed:  and that the wise ladies who superintend that establishment propose also that most excellent institution—­a swimming bath.  A paper, moreover, read before the London Association of Schoolmistresses in 1866, on “Physical Exercises and Recreation for Girls,” deserves all attention.  May those who promote such things prosper as they deserve.

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Health and Education from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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