Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville: With Selections from Her Correspondence

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Roberts brothers, 1874 - Women scientists - 377 pages
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Page 34 - And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; My skin is broken, and become loathsome. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, And are spent without hope.
Page 21 - My father at last said to my mother, - 'This kind of life will never do, Mary must at least know how to write and keep accounts.' So at ten years old I was sent to a boarding-school, kept by a Miss Primrose, at Musselburgh, where I was utterly wretched. The change from perfect liberty to perpetual restraint was in itself a great trial; besides, being naturally shy and timid, I was afraid of strangers, and although Miss Primrose was not unkind she had an habitual frown, which even the elder girls...
Page 374 - The blue Peter has been long flying at my foremast, and now that I am in my ninety-second year I must soon expect the signal for sailing. It is a solemn voyage, but it does not disturb my tranquillity. Deeply sensible of my utter unworthiness, and profoundly grateful for the innumerable blessings I have received, I trust in the infinite mercy of my almighty Creator.
Page 345 - Age has not abated my zeal for the emancipation of my sex from the unreasonable prejudice too prevalent in Great Britain against a literary and scientific education for women. The French, are more civilized in this respect, for they have taken the lead, and have given the first example in modern times of encouragement to the high intellectual culture of the sex. Madame Emma...
Page 364 - ... scientific subjects. I am still able to read books on the higher algebra for four or five hours in the morning, and even to solve the problems. Sometimes I find them difficult, but my old obstinacy remains, for if I do not succeed today, I attack them again on the morrow. I also enjoy reading about all the new discoveries and theories in the scientific world and on all branches of science.
Page 22 - A few days after my arrival at school," Mrs. Somerville tells us in her memoirs, "although perfectly straight and well made, I was enclosed in stiff stays, with a steel busk in front; while above my frock, bands drew my shoulders back until the shoulder-blades met.
Page 164 - A man can always command his time under the plea of business, a woman is not allowed any such excuse. At Chelsea I was always supposed to be at home, and as my friends and acquaintances came so far out of their way on purpose to see me, it would have been unkind and ungenerous not to receive them. Nevertheless, I was sometimes annoyed, when in the midst of a difficult problem some one would enter and say, ' I have come to spend a few hours with you.
Page 47 - Unfortunately not one of our acquaintances or relations knew anything of science or natural history ; nor, had they done so, should I have had courage to ask any of them a question, for I should have been laughed at. I was often very sad and forlorn; not a hand held out to help me.
Page 162 - ... science, and our treatises have about 100 to 800 pages of space each, so that one might give the more popular view, and another the analytical abstracts and illustrations. In England there are now not twenty people who know this great work, except by name ; and not a hundred who know it even by nume. My firm belief is that Mrs. Somerville could add two cyphers to each of those figures.
Page 167 - I have read your manuscript with the greatest pleasure, and will not hesitate to add, (because I am sure you will believe it sincere,) with the highest admiration. Go on thus, and you will leave a memorial of no common kind to posterity; and, what you will value far more than fame, you will have accomplished a most useful work. What a pity that La Place has not lived to see this illustration of his great work! You will only, I fear, give too strong a stimulus to the study of abstract science by this...

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