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CHAPTER IX.: 1872–1874. - William Stanley Jevons, Letters and Journal 
Letters and Journal of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife (Harriet A. Jevons) (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886).
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To his sister Lucy.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 20th March 1872.
“… Dr. Morgan says I must take a good long holiday, and that in a few months I shall be quite strong again. Early next week we are going to the Lakes for two weeks, and I shall then probably be quite well enough to complete next term, which is a comparatively very easy one. It is the evening classes that I believe injure me, as I sometimes feel quite done up with them, but now they are fortunately at an end. Harriet and I have almost come to the conclusion, hastened by my present state, to leave Manchester and go and live quietly and economically in or near London. I fear that I shall always be liable to this sort of over-fatigue as long as I have evening classes. Harriet is quite desirous of leaving Manchester now that almost all her relatives have left, and I think it would ultimately be of great advantage to me to be in London.”
On the 6th April he wrote again to his sister:—“I got your letter this morning from Grange. We came back from there somewhat in a hurry, as Harriet has informed you. I did not find myself so well there, and did not like being away from my doctor. I suffer from weakness brought on, I think, chiefly by over-work during the past winter, and no doubt complete rest during the summer will restore me. I have quite decided to discontinue the college work for the present at all events, and they will have to find a substitute. Whether I shall resign altogether need hardly be decided just yet. If there seems a prospect of my being much better and stronger I might possibly continue. … We liked exceedingly what little we saw of Grange—it rained during several of the days, and we did not get about at all, but the mountains looked beautiful, especially on the day we left.”
Mr. Jevons' illness was characterised by great inability to sleep, and this, instead of improving with the pure air and quiet of the country, became so much worse at Grange that he had to return home for immediate advice. It was so hard for him to keep his mind from working actively during the day that loss of rest at night told more upon him than upon most people. The month that followed was one of much suffering, mental as well as bodily, for he could not keep his thoughts from dwelling on his half-written book, the Principles of Science, and he often feared that he should never live to finish it. As soon as he was sufficiently recovered to leave home he went to Ludlow, where his sister was then living.
On the 12th May he wrote from Ludlow to his brother Herbert:—
“Harriet and I are now on a visit here of a week or ten days.
“I have been rather more ill than I like to think of. It commenced shortly after Christmas by indigestion and sleeplessness, and although I managed to carry on my college work until Easter, my doctor then ordered me to leave off all work whatever; I seem to have exhausted my nervous system by over-work, so that any exertion disarranges my digestion and heart, but after some sharp treatment, involving several weeks in bed, or in the house, I think I am coming all right again. I shall have to spend the next three or four months as a perfect holiday, and we have various plans as to what to do; not unlikely we shall go to Norway.
“I am to be one of the fifteen new members of the Royal Society elected this year, and Harry Roscoe informs me that in the ballot by the council I came out at, or very near, the top of the list.”
After several weeks' rest and change of air at various places, Mr. Jevons was well enough to get through his duties as examiner for the London M.A. degree, and then returned home to make arrangements for a long tour with his wife in Norway. He was still so very far from well that it seemed rather a rash experiment going so far away, and so much out of the reach of medical advice, but as he was quite unfit for writing, it was most necessary to choose some place where work would be out of the question, and where his active mind would be occupied and interested with the novelty of his surroundings. They sailed from Hull to Christiansand in the first week of July, having a sea so smooth the whole way, that the captain told them it might be fifty years before there was another passage like it
To his sister Lucy.
Bergen, 12th July 1872.
“I daresay you will like to hear from me how we are getting on, although you may have had some details in Harriet's letter, which I asked to have sent on to you. We left Christiansand yesterday morning at 7 A.M. after a brief night of four or five hours' sleep, obtained with some difficulty, owing to the noise of horses, dogs, and people. The day's journey was, for the most part, very agreeable, the steamer passing among an infinity of islands, and stopping every few hours at a small town or village of pretty bright-coloured wooden houses, usually built at the very edge of the water. These houses were almost entirely occupied by fishermen, and at one or two of the larger places, especially Haugesund, the herring-fishing is largely carried on, and there were a vast number of the picturesque warehouses at the water edge, where they cure the herrings, make the barrels, and store them.
“The fiords which we passed through in this part of the coast are not grand, as the rocks seldom rise, I should think, above 1500 or 2000 feet, and are generally low; they are devoid of trees, and almost of vegetation. Yet the infinite variety of shaped islands and channels, with beautiful blue water, and occasional views of the open sea, made very pleasant scenery. If you can imagine steaming for two days through the Menai Straits, devoided of its bridges, and with only distant views of snowy mountains, you will have a fair idea of fiord scenery as far as we have yet seen it.
“My chief difficulty has been want of sleep, as the steamboats almost invariably depart or arrive in the middle of the night Even when we had a clear night in the Hero between Hull and Christiansand, we were kept awake for two or three hours by the dreadful steam whistle, which was far from needless, however, as we were nearly run into by another steamer in a fog. The Arendal, in which we came from Christiansand, was a small boat crowded with baggage and native passengers of various grades. There were frightful vibrations from the engine and screw, and no proper berths, but only couches in a close-crowded cabin. I managed to get a few hours' sleep before we arrived, about 4 A.M., at Stavanger, a principal town, where we remained changing cargo and passengers until 7 A.M. Added to other discomforts was a slight amount of sea sickness, arising from occasional breaks in the chain of islands, where we got a fair amount of rolling and pitching. … Yesterday, our second day among the fiords, made me so sleepy that I dosed and nodded about the deck all day, and last night I slept in spite of all the cocks of Bergen, which appeared to be doing their best shortly after midnight. With Bergen itself we are perfectly charmed. It lies in the corner of a splendid fiord, and at the foot of a range of mountains. The town runs round the sides and ends of a natural basin, which forms the principal part of the harbour. The houses here are various and quaint in form, the streets narrow and devious, and there are many marks of antiquity. Many of the women are dressed in peculiar costumes, and have ingenious headdresses unseen elsewhere. Altogether the place has a thoroughly Norwegian appearance; and when we are able in the cool of the evening to walk about, I daresay we shall see much more that is interesting. Although there is none of the luxury which one meets in Switzerland or some other fashionable places, we find everybody very attentive to our comforts, and exceedingly civil. The language presents but little difficulty. We find about a dozen Norse words very useful, such as tak = thanks, vand = water, smör = butter, brod = bread, bla = ale, and so on. A great many people know a little English, and when both fail, a few words of German are pretty sure to be understood. A good deal of Norwegian is pronounced more like the English than it is spelt. For instance, you hear people saying ‘God morgen’ indistinguishably from our ‘Good morning;’ and there is no mistaking such sentences as ‘Vad kan de giv os til aftens?’ (supper).
“As regards victuals I have made myself ill two or three times, as my curiosity gets the better of my prudence; but the fine air, which is certainly of the best quality and full of ozone, has helped me through. If it is true that fish is good for the nerves and brain, I am likely to return restored indeed, for the fresh-herrings, trout, salmon, and anchovies are never wanting, and are beautiful to eat. Last night we had portions of the most magnificent lobster I ever saw. We shall probably leave here by a steamboat at 1 A.M. on Sunday morning for Trondhjem and Tromsö in the north; a great inducement being the splendid cool air and the smooth water of the coast fiords through which we shall pass. On returning to Bergen we shall perhaps go up one or two of the great inland fiords where the grandest scenery is; then cross by land to Christiania, and possibly visit Copenhagen before returning from Gothenburg to Hull.
“Saturday, 13th July.—It is very hot here to-day, and though not so oppressively so as on a hot English summer day, yet it is more than we like, and the sun is very powerful. They have had fine weather here for six weeks at least, and with our usual luck we find that we have come in for one of the hottest summers that they have had of late years. We have decided to leave for Trondhjem at one to-night, and shall try to keep as much at sea as possible for the present. This morning we obtained one of the few vehicles for two persons existing in the town, and drove to the fish-market, the post-office, and the museum. The fish-market is considered one of the sights of the place, and was chiefly carried on by bargaining between the women on the quays and the men in the boats—the fish and money being handed about in the most inconvenient manner. We had a good view too of the jaegts or yachts, which are fishing-boats from the extreme north, built in the identical shape familiar to the old vikings, with a very high stern and prow, and a single mast planted just in the middle of the vessel bearing a single large yard and sail. These vessels remind me of the boats figured in old pictures and on old coins. The museum contains many antiquities worth seeing. Afterwards we had a beautiful row round the parts of the fiord making the harbour.”
To his sister Lucy.
Bergen, Tuesday, 6th August 1872.
“We have now got back to Bergen, and I have had the pleasure of receiving your letter of 22d July, everything in which is satisfactory. Harriet has also had two letters, which have pleased her much, being the first which have reached us since leaving England.
“On leaving Bergen after our first visit we proceeded to the north by a fine coasting steamboat. On the way it suddenly turned cold and wet, and the weather has since been very. cold. Most people would regret the previous fine warm weather, but the cold suits my health best; and when I hear of the recent great heat in England I think myself very fortunate in being away from it.
“I now begin to feel more in the way of recovering from my state of weakness. On two or three recent occasions I have been far from well, and I am hardly able to walk yet more than I did at Ludlow; but I am beginning to sleep in a much more satisfactory manner, and my digestion is better, so that I hope to be soon stronger. …
“At Trondhjem we stayed four days waiting for a return steamboat; but we were much disappointed in the town, which, although the ancient capital of Norway, contains few things of interest. We came south again as far as Molde, on the way to the celebrated Romsdal. From Molde, which is on the shore of a fine fiord, we had a grand view of the surrounding ranges of mountains, covered here and there with patches of snow, and looking almost Alpine in character. But it is in the Romsdal itself that we have seen the grandest scenery as yet Four or five hours' journey up the Romsdal Fiord on a small steamboat was very enjoyable. In the higher part of the fiord vast rocks rose almost straight out of the green water to the height of 2000 or 3000 feet; and up every opening were glimpses of still higher mountains in the distance. The forms of the mountains are wonderfully varied, and in some places they rise into snow-covered peaks. If you pick out the finest bits of scenery in Wales or Scotland, and then imagine yourself travelling for days and weeks amidst a constant succession of such scenes, always varied in character, you get some notion of the country we are in.
“The drive of three miles up the Romsdal brought us to the well-known Aak Hotel; and after passing one night in a comfortable farm-house in the neighbourhood, we obtained a cheerful pleasant room in the hotel, and were induced to stay two weeks there. This hotel is beautifully situated in the wider part of the Romsdal valley, and two or three miles from the magnificent gorge at the foot of the Romsdal horn. It is difficult to give you any idea of this mountain, which rises almost perpendicularly from the sea level to a height of more than 5000 feet, and terminates in a rounded horn or peak, which has never been ascended. We have watched it for many days in all varieties of weather, but I think it perhaps looked most beautiful of all when the topmost point peeped through the clouds. Curiously enough there is at the very top a large rock or boulder, which is generally supposed to be a cairn raised by some person who had climbed the horn; but this is proved to be mistaken. On the other side of the gorge is a frightful range of precipices terminating at the summit in jagged points of rock known as the Troltinderne, or the Witches' Peaks. We drove through this splendid part of the valley on two occasions; and on one of them went about twenty miles, to one of the small posting inns or skyds-stations called Ormein. The valley, though less remarkable and grand in the higher parts, presents a constant succession of beautiful views. This journey was our first attempt at cariole travelling. You would be amused if you could see Harriet and myself in two very small, light vehicles trotting away among the rocks and precipices and over Alpine bridges. We are already expert enough in driving ourselves, and in fact the horses, or rather the ponies —for they are seldom larger than ponies—are so well-trained and accustomed to the roads that they hardly require driving. One day we drove in carioles up a side valley where an English carriage would have come to grief half a dozen times. On this occasion we visited the sœter (sātér) or out farm of the hotel where most of the cows are sent during summer; but we have not seen any mountain sœters yet, as they are generally beyond the reach of any carriage road.
“At the Hotel Aak (pronounced Oak) we spent an agreeable indolent life, reading novels, of which there was a good supply, driving out in the evenings, and lying on the grass in the mornings. The English tourists in Norway, too, are often agreeable company. In the hotel they varied in number, from three or four to eighteen or twenty, but occasionally there were parties to which we objected. The Norwegian tourists are usually of a superior class to those encountered in Switzerland and France, and we have liked many of them very well. A young American, who has been travelling for three years in many parts of Europe, was our most constant companion, and amused us much. At the latter end of the time, too, Dr. Frankland, the former professor of chemistry at Owens College, came to fish, and I was glad to become better acquainted with him than before.
“We stay here until Thursday, when a steamboat leaves for the great Hardanger Fiord. After visiting several parts of that, we shall cross by land to the Sogne Fiord, and afterwards we hope to get across the country by carioles to Christiania. As there is sometimes a difficulty in getting good meals, and meals are important to me, we are setting up a beautiful provision basket, full of biscuits, preserved meat, brandy, etc.
“If all goes well, I think we shall not return to England until the middle of September, by which time I hope to be much better.”
To his sister Lucy.
Vossevangen, 17th August 1872.
“Having abundant spare time here, I propose to tell you briefly about our travels since I last wrote to you at Bergen. We are now spending several days in a rather comfortable and well-known hotel in a village or small town about twenty-four hours' journey from Bergen. It is at one end of a fresh-water lake, the Vangs Vand, which appears to be about two miles long, but really extends three or four miles farther, out of sight. The mountains slope up from the water in a comparatively mild manner, and the farms and farm-houses extend half-way up them, so that the view is pleasing and pretty rather than grand. The lake is not altogether unlike Bala Lake, though the mountains even here are higher than any visible there. As there is a boat at the water's edge ready for us at any moment, we occasionally take a row, and we get a boy to row us some distance, and then take a walk.
“We left Bergen at 9 A.M. by a fine steamboat for the Hardanger Fiord, and after proceeding for several hours down the coast, reached the mouth of that fiord, up which it took the rest of the day to steam. The scenery was always pleasing, but became more and more grand as we approached the higher parts. As we did not wish to spend a wretched sleepless night on board the vessel, we landed about eleven o'clock at a village called Utne. This landing was the least pleasant one we have had, as the boat was loaded with luggage and goods, and with about a score of passengers, many of whom sat high up upon the pile of goods. The next morning we took a row-boat, and went about three miles, so as to meet the steamboat again, which had, in the meantime, been going up and down some of the branches of the fiord. We had then a splendid sail of three hours down the Sör Fiord, a long narrow branch of the Hardanger, the lofty mountains on either side sloping steeply down into the water in a succession of headlands, and covered on one side by fields of snow and small glaciers. On reaching Odde, the village at the end of the fiord, we had our first serious trouble about accommodation, as there was a sudden concourse of tourists, and we could only get a very small bedroom, just sufficient to contain the usual two small beds, with two doors opening respectively into the eating-room and kitchen. Our companions here, consisting of one exceedingly tall Norsk gentleman (how he got into the beds is a point that can never be explained), and several parties of English tourists, were by no means agreeable, and we had the misfortune to meet four grown-up boys, whom other tourists described as ‘rowdies,’ and who behaved altogether so disgracefully that it has been a principal object of our arrangements, ever since, to avoid them.
“Odde, however, proved to be a beautiful place. A mile above the village was a fine lake three or four miles long, so closely surrounded by mountainous precipices that a boat across the lake was the only mode of proceeding farther. On one side was a narrow valley, terminating in a beautiful glacier, which, by the aid of a pony, we managed to reach. The ice was hollowed out into a series of fantastic caverns of the finest azure colour, exceeding anything I had seen in Switzerland. Another day we spent in a glorious ride to a place about twelve miles up the main valley, beyond the lake, the views being equally grand and lovely.
“In spite of its beauty, we were not sorry when the steamer came to carry us from Odde to Eide, where we had a comfortable inn nearly to ourselves, but no very grand scenery; little to do, in fact, but watch the netting of salmon. After stopping two days, a drive of three hours with a capital horse brought us here.”
“After staying four days at Vossevangen, we came on yesterday, and enjoyed a sight of the most beautiful scenery perhaps which we have yet met with. The drive of twenty-eight or thirty miles is said, indeed, to be unparalleled for beauty in Norway, and I doubt if it is to be exceeded elsewhere. During the first three stages of about seven miles each, we passed a succession of lakes, surrounded by pine forests, sloping hills, with groups of wooden farm-houses, rocks, with every variety of waterfalls, the view being generally closed by lofty mountains, diversified with patches of snow. But it was when commencing the last stage at Stalheim that we came in sight, all at once, of the celebrated Nœrodal. The road here attained a height of 1000 feet or more, and there were rounded mountains with peculiar white rocky summits towering up above us, when at a turn in the road we saw the Nœro Valley, a long narrow gorge, with nearly perpendicular rocks of 5000 or 6000 feet in height running away out of sight. We have a photograph of this valley, which will give you some idea of its beauty. Gudvangen is a small village lying six or seven miles down the valley, at the point where the Nœro Fiord commences, which is but a continuation of the valley filled with sea water. On the way there was much besides the scenery to amuse us. In the first stage we had two good horses and carioles, and enjoyed a good trot, which down some of the hills became so rapid as to make one quite dizzy. But at the first station, or posting-house, we were disgusted to meet a party who had ordered twelve horses, while only six were available. We were glad to put up with two return horses and stolkœrres (or little carts). For the third stage only one stolkœrre and horse could be got, and at the last stage we degenerated to such an old horse and rickety cart that trotting down hill appeared highly dangerous, and we descended a long series of zigzags on foot. The stations are supposed to be little inns, where, on an emergency, one might have to sleep, but on this journey they were most wretched wooden huts, in which one hardly liked to put one's nose. At one place we tried to get tea with the aid of our provision basket. Though we had plenty of tea, we could get nothing better as a teapot than a large saucepan, with boiling water at the bottom. When we asked for milk, a bowl of it appeared, which proved, however, to be sourer than butter-milk. When we tried to get some sugar, which we had forgotten to bring, the kindness of the villagers produced some sugar-candy. As there were no eggs, bread, meat, or anything else, our meal resolved itself into some dry tongue and biscuits which we had with us.
“We are now spending a leisure day at a comfortable hotel in Gudvangen, a village so shut in by lofty rocks, of which it is impossible to estimate the height, that the sun was not visible till nine o'clock. Just opposite the hotel are three cascades, which fall over the cliffs close together, descending in a succession of beautiful curves and streams of spray, many hundred feet at a bound.
“To-morrow, about noon, we go by steamboat down the Nœro Fiord, and up another branch of the Sogne Fiord to Lœrdal, and, with the splendid weather which we now enjoy, we must have a glorious view.
“We now think of returning to England by a steamboat about the 6th September, but it may possibly be the 13th. I feel at times a good deal better, but every now and then have a return of the old symptoms, so that I fear undertaking any fixed work at present.”
To his sister Lucy.
Hull, 9th September 1872.
“I am glad to say that we have returned safely to England, and hope to be at home to-night. We got to Hull about 8.30 last night, by the Rollo steamer from Gothenburg, and stayed the night at Mr. Hunt's, a relative and friend of ours. The Rollo is a fine steamboat, with the first cabin in the middle of the vessel, so that we felt the motion very little, and Harriet seems none the worse; indeed, for a large part of the way, the sea was quite smooth. The voyage occupied about fifty hours. The final parts of our tour consisted of a visit of about five days to Christiania, but as the weather was often rainy, and we were tired after our cariole journey, we did little but rest ourselves at a very comfortable hotel. Then we went overland by railway to Gothenburg in Sweden, a journey of eighteen hours, by the express train. We were much amused by this train, which, although an express mail train, with a travelling post-office, stopped about five minutes at most of the stations, and finally stopped for the night at a little Swedish town, where all the passengers, about a dozen in number, went to an hotel and had a comfortable night's rest, starting again at seven in the morning. We were interested by what we saw of Sweden and the Swedes, and much pleased with Gothenburg, which, although a busy and rising port, is also a clean and beautifully-built town. The scenery in Sweden is of a poor kind, excepting pretty little views of the innumerable lakes with flat shores.
To his brother Herbert.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 15th October 1872.
“… We are now settled quietly at home after our splendid tour of two months in Norway. My health was so far improved that I was recommended by my doctor to undertake the day classes, leaving the evening classes to a substitute, and I have some hopes that, with great care, I may get through the session. If I break down again you may expect to see us in New Zealand.
“I am not sure that I have written to you since we went to Norway, and I should like to tell you a good deal about our journey, our driving in a pair of carioles for hundreds of miles through the most varied and beautiful scenery. We intend to spend another summer there as soon as possible.”
To J. L. Shadwell, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 17th October 1872.
“More than six months ago you did me the favour to send me some critical remarks upon my Theory of Political Economy. I was then, as I informed you at the time, prevented from giving any attention to the subject by the advice of my physician, and after being absent from home nearly the whole of the summer, it is only within the last few weeks that I have ventured to attempt any work again. You will therefore, perhaps, excuse my long delay in answering your letter, which was, nevertheless, of much interest to me.
“You desire to retain Adam Smith's sense of the word value, and to use as a measure of value the length of time which a man will labour in order to obtain any given commodity. Now, you will find that in page 181 I show my view of the matter to be in accordance with the doctrine of labour measuring value, so far as it is true. Articles do exchange in quantities proportional to the products of equal quantities of labour. But the subject requires to be much more carefully analysed, for, as I point out in chap. V., labour is excessively valuable in painfulness, and the length of time is not sufficient to measure the amount of labour. It is true that equal quantities of labour are of equal value to the labourer, using the term value to express esteem or amount of pleasure and pain involved, but equal periods of labour do not necessarily represent equal amounts.
“You object again that I have given no measure of happiness, but you will observe that there are many things which we cannot measure except by their effects. For instance, gravity cannot be measured except by the velocity which it produces in a body in a given time. All the other physical forces, such as light, heat, electricity, are incapable of being measured like water or timber, and it is by their effects that we estimate them. So pleasure must be estimated by its effects; and, though I did not go into the point, labour might undoubtedly be used as one of these effects. The average pain which a common labourer undergoes during, say, a quarter of an hour's work after he has been ten hours at work, would measure the utility to him of his last increments of wages—but the pain of this quarter of an hour is greater than that of any of the previous quarters.
“Then, again, the pleasure may be defined. by the amount of commodity producing it Then the ordinary or average good occasioned to a man by an ounce of bread after 3/4 lb. of bread have already been eaten might be taken as a unit of pleasure, remembering of course that the pleasure derived from any commodity is not proportional to that commodity. Then, as I have pointed out, pp. 12–14, all commercial statistics form data, which, if rendered more complete, would enable us to assign numerical values to our formulæ. Prices express the relative esteem for commodities, and enable us to compare the pleasure produced by the final increments of the commodities. Had we complete tables of prices compared with quantities consumed, we could determine the numerical laws of variation of utility.
“I believe I was not sufficiently careful to point out the process by which we might (with perfect statistics) turn all the formulæ into numerical expressions, but I only attempted the first step, which was to get the formulæ correctly, and the main point of difference from Adam Smith was the distinguishing of the degree of utility from the total amount of utility.
“With regard to the relative variation of value of gold and silver, I was aware of what was stated about the increased production of silver, but I am not aware that this increase is nearly so great as that of the increase of gold. And I think that it entirely fails to account for the gold price of silver never varying more than about 3 per cent, and generally much less.”
On the 13th November he wrote to his brother Herbert:—
“I have felt much better myself during the last, week or two, and am becoming quite active again. My election to the council of the college gives me a great deal of occupation without much fatigue, and I am writing very little at present. If all goes on as well as at present, I shall begin to look forward to a long life again, concerning which I was very doubtful during the last nine months.”
To John L. Shadwell, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 5th December 1872.
“I have been intending, day after day, to thank you for sending me the copy of the Westminster Review containing your article on the ‘Theory of Wages.’ I particularly remarked the article at the time of its appearance, but not being in good health, set it down for reading at a future time. I have now read it more than once, and carefully considered it, and so far as I can pretend to judge, I think you have put forth the truth very clearly and soundly. I feel sure that the general proposition which you put forth, that wages are ultimately governed by efficiency of labour, will some day or other be recognised as true, and though Mr. Hearn, myself, and perhaps some previous writers, have had some notions to the same effect, yet I think that you have stated the truth more roundly and fully. I am especially pleased with your protest against the effort to procure cheap labour as a means of promoting the prosperity of a country. I have often felt inclined to view the matter much in the same light, that cheap labour means a low reward for the main mass of the population, and the good chiefly of landed proprietors, but I do not remember this truth as being anywhere stated so clearly before.
“I think that you are perfectly correct in taking dear labour to be the test of prosperity of a people, the dearness being, in fact, the measure of efficiency. It is only in the details of your argument that I should be inclined to criticise at all. I cannot concur in what you say on p. 202 of overpopulation resulting only from fluctuations of commerce. Surely there is always over-population when people are improvident, and unable, or careless, to provide for the inevitable vicissitudes of the seasons. Ireland has furnished the clearest possible case of over-population, and I think that the same may be said of the whole agricultural population of the United Kingdom, which has only been to a certain extent saved by the extension of manufactures, as I tried to show in the chapters on population in my Coal Question.
“Again, do you not sometimes ignore the variation in the value of money which on several occasions has produced an apparent rise of wages? I entertain no doubt that such is the case at present, and that it lies at the basis of all these strikes.
“A more important point which I should dissent from is your adoption of a general average of wages and a treatment of the higher rates of pay to skilled mechanics and others as exceptional cases. In my Theory I have attempted to show that any general rate is illusory, and that every one who works for pay will ultimately be paid according to what he contributes to the general industry. I think that it is the very essence of wages to vary with the skill and efficiency of the labourer, and you will readily see that this follows from your own theory. It is a convenient simplification of the subject to pass over this question of the difference of wages; but you so far detract from the consistency and value of your theory.
“May I express a wish that you will not rest contented with having printed so concise an essay on the subject, but will develop your views more fully? I think there is great need in political economy of keeping independence of thought alive.
“For myself, I am able to do so little work at present, and have such hard tasks of a different sort on hand, that I have little hope of writing anything more on political economy for some time to come.”
Being relieved from all his evening work at college, Mr. Jevons found himself able to take the day classes through the session, but he could do very little other work. The Christmas holidays he spent at Ludlow.
To E. J. Broadfield, Esq.
5 Mill Street, Ludlow, 25th December 1872.
“You will be glad to hear that not only the organ gallery but the whole church here, is continually warmed by hot water, so that the temperature is very agreeable. The organ is, I believe, one of the sweetest and best for its size in England, having been built a century or more ago by the German maker Schnetzler (or some such name), and recently reconstructed and improved by Gray and Davison. The tone of the whole is very good, I think, and some of the stops are exquisite in quality. The church also, which is very large and in many respects a beautiful one, seems very favourable for sound, as there is not the least reverberation apparent in any part
“… We have quiet comfortable lodgings here; and there are beautiful walks about the castle and river, and the Whitcliff on the other side and close at hand. The quaint little town always amuses us, so that we are doing very well.
“I am now getting on pretty quickly with the large logic, The Principles of Science; one hundred and twenty-eight pages are in type, and before next midsummer I hope that the first volume will be completely printed.
“The organ here has thirty-nine sounding stops, four manuals, and strong pedal organ.
“P.S.—I am much disappointed in the termination of Middlemarch. The introduction of Ladislaw is a blemish on the whole, and the novel would have been better with about half the characters.”
On the 1st January 1873 he wrote to his wife, who had gone on from Ludlow to Bridgewater to visit her sister for a couple of days.
“I have just been much pleased to hear of your safe arrival at Bridgewater after a comfortable journey. …
“I have just returned from one and three-quarter hour's practice, which, with a walk up to Gravel Hill, will be exercise enough for to-day. You may make your mind quite easy about me, as now you are once at Enmore Road I shall get on quite well. …
“I am in pretty good spirits about the Logic just at present. I think I can finish the first volume before the end of this month; and if my health improves as it has lately done, I should think the second volume might be done before the end of the year—but we must not be too sanguine.
“Tell Mary Ann, with my love, that I hope to send her exercises in a few days. I should also like to know whether in reading the Logic [Elementary Lessons] she detected any errors or defects, as I am thinking of having some corrections made in the plates before long.
“Please remember me kindly to Eliza, and tell her what a beautiful organ we have here. I had Dick to blow the solo organ this afternoon, and produced some startling effects with the flute and trumpets.”
To W. H. Brewer, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 15th January 1873.
“I am very much obliged to you for the letter which I received at the college a day or two ago. I was very desirous of learning what attempts had been made to apply mathematics to political economy, and I carefully searched the British Museum catalogues, the Royal Society catalogues of papers, and some bibliographical books without success. Whenever the occasion shall arise, I shall hope to make proper use of the information which you have so kindly procured for me. Since the Theory of Economy was published I discovered that I had' by some unaccountable oversight omitted to notice Garnier's mention of Cournot's work, Recherches sur les Principes Mathematiques de la Théorie des Rickesses, par Augustus Cournot; Paris, 1838. I have lately procured this book without difficulty through Messrs. Ascher and Company, but have not yet read it sufficiently to form a definite opinion on its value.
“It evidently has little or no relation to my mode of approaching the subject through a theory of utility. The almost total oblivion into which such works have fallen is very remarkable, and not encouraging to those who attempt other works of the sort
“I shall be glad to have any other information which you obtain about the books named; I think something ought to be done to rescue them from entire oblivion.
“It was a pleasure to the examiners to have a candidate to whom they could so unhesitatingly award the medal as to yourself.”
To his sister Lucy.
Withington, 2d February 1873.
“… I am sorry to say that my over-exertions at the Ludlow organ threw me back for six or eight weeks, and I am hardly as well yet as when I went to Ludlow. As it will not do to be going on in this slow manner, we have made up our minds to buy a pony and carriage, so that I can take good long drives several days a week, and get plenty of air without over-exertion. I think that this will give me the best possible chance of recovery; and in spite of the considerable cost, will prove economical in the end. We had our house on fire on Friday evening. The skirting-board close to the chimney-piece in the drawing-room was blazing away at a white heat; and had it not been immediately discovered by Harriet, who was in the room, would probably have been all in flames in half an hour, as the east wind caused a great draught. If it had occurred at night the house might have been burnt, and we sleeping in the room above. The fire must have been caused by burning soot blown down behind the skirting-board by the east wind.”
To W. H. Brewer, Esq.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 14th February 1873.
“Best thanks for your letter, enclosing the extracts from Kroncke's economical investigations; I shall carefully preserve them for future use. I procured Cournot's other work upon economy which you now mention, but have not read more than a few pages. The fact is that what time my health at present allows me to give to work is nearly absorbed by a logical work in slow progress through the press, so that I have to keep economical matters for the future.
“I have, however, since your previous letter, looked a little more into Cournot's Recherches, and am inclined to regard it as a very able and mostly sound work, though it hardly gets anywhere to the bottom of the matter. The latter part of the book, in which he treats of the law of supply and demand, is very striking and original.
“My Theory has been reviewed in the Academy of 1st April 1872, p. 131; the Manchester Guardian of 22d November 1871; the Manchester Examiner of 15th November 1871; the Glasgow Daily Herald of 16th December 1871; the Evening Standard of 17th December 1871, in addition to those you mention, and a few other brief notices.
“You may be interested to hear of a paper by Mr. Fleeming Jenkin in the Proceedings of the Edinburgh Royal Society (1871–72), p. 618, in which the method of his paper in ‘Recess Studies’ is farther pursued. Some reference is made to my Theory; but as regards questions of priority, Mr. Jenkin has allowed himself to be in error.
“I shall look forward with interest to any further results of your researches.”
To his sister Lucy.
The Peacock Inn, Baslow, 30th March 1873.
“We are having a quiet Sunday in this beautiful little hotel. The weather being so favourable, and both of us rather in need of a change, we made the first of our intended drives in our pony carriage; and the pony brought us all the way from Manchester very pluckily. As the distance is nearly thirty-five miles, and there are two long hills on the way, it is naturally somewhat tired to-day; but after a quiet day I hope it will be ready to take us back to-morrow. Many parts of the drive were very beautiful, especially between Buxton and here.
“I do not know whether you remember the Peacock Inn, which stands on a slight elevation on the right hand side of the road as you go to the lower part of the village, where we once stopped, possibly in this inn. I do not know any place where they make one more comfortable; and there is a charming view over the meadows looking towards Chatsworth, where we expect a pleasant walk this afternoon. …
We propose to take a driving tour during the Easter holidays, probably in Cheshire or the nearer parts of Wales; but it partly depends on the pony and partly on the weather.”
On the 24th April, after the holidays, he wrote again to his sister:—
“Our tour was, on the whole, very successful. We went first to Northwich, seventeen or eighteen miles away, inspected salt works, and descended into a salt mine; then through Delamere Forest to Chester, where we spent Good Friday in the very comfortable Grosvenor Hotel, Fred and Sarah being away from home. On the Saturday we reached Llangollen; and though the Hand Hotel was very full, we found it comfortable. On Sunday we gave the pony a rest; and we climbed Dinas BrÂn, 700 or 800 feet high, a task I dare not have attempted a few months ago. We were well pleased with Llangollen, Harriet finding it much more pretty than she expected. After visiting Valle Crucis Abbey on Monday morning we went on to Corwen; thence on Tuesday we had a long drive by the Holyhead Road to Capel Curig, where we again gave the pony a day's rest. Siabod and Snowdon looked magnificent on our first approach, owing to a thin haze which magnified their apparent size, but at other times the haze was so thick that we got no good views. We were not altogether pleased with Capel Curig Hotel, nor with their charges; but the situation is delightful. Rain having come on, we made a short stage to Pentre Voelas. The next day being fortunately fine, we crossed the moors to Denbigh; and after visiting the castle, went on to St. Asaph, and spent the night in the smallest of cathedral towns. The next day's work was somewhat arduous, as we drove through Ruddlan and Diserth to Holywell; and after seeing the well reached Mold. On Sunday morning we had a short stage through Hawarden to Chester; and on Monday a long and rather tedious drive of nearly forty miles to Withington. I am glad to say that the pony stood the work very well, in spite of the long steep hills we occasionally encountered. We had one or two little mishaps with the carriage, which, although not preventing out getting home in it, have necessitated our sending it to be repaired. On the whole, our tour was most enjoyable, the weather being generally very agreeable. Were it not for the expense, which amounted to nearly thirty shillings a day, I should wish to repeat the tour in other parts of England.”
To the Contemporary Review for May Mr. Jevons contributed an article, “Who discovered the Quantification of the Predicate?” but with that exception his time was still devoted to the completion of the Principles of Science.
To his brother Herbert.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 25th June 1873.
“We leave for a long tour in Norway the day after to-morrow, and I write a few lines to say that I hope you are now much better in consequence of the bold step you took. Your correspondence has again dropped off, but in the meantime I take no news to be good news.
“I have also taken a bold step, in asking the college to give me a session's leave of absence, offering at the same time my resignation as an alternative. Though there has been no opportunity yet of giving me leave formally, I understand that there is no doubt about it. I have to find a substitute at a cost of £200, but have got a good one for that. You must not suppose that my health is any worse; on the contrary, it is better, but there is so much leeway yet to make up, and so little reason why I should at all endanger my ultimate complete restoration, that I feel sure it is wise to make the sacrifice, and both Harriet and myself will enjoy the tours we intend to make.
“We begin with Norway again, where I intend to do much execution on the salmon and trout, having laid in some fine tackle.
“In September we hope to have Tom and his family here; in the new year we hope, if all goes well, to spend many months in Italy, the Tyrol, Germany, or other parts of the Continent
“All that I suffer from now is nervous and muscular weakness, which it takes some time to recover from; but having improved during a session of work, I trust there is little doubt of thorough restoration during a session of play.
“I know too little of your present affairs to discuss them as I should like.
“I am much occupied with final arrangements for our departure, and so must say farewell.”
To his sister Lucy.
Lillehammer, 2d July 1873.
“You will perhaps like to have a few lines announcing our safe arrival in Norway. We left Hull on Friday evening last at about eight o'clock, in the steamboat Oder, which was considerably smaller than the Hero, in which we crossed last summer. Although there was but little wind or sea, she took to rolling, and on Saturday nearly all the ladies and many of the men were sick. I was glad to find myself a better sailor than last year, and more like what I used to be. During Saturday night we had a fresh breeze, and the ship rolled a good deal, but next day the wind and sea calmed down, and as we approached the coast of Norway everything became cheerful and pleasant.
“We reached Christiansand, where we previously stayed some days, at 4 P.M., and after landing a few passengers and a little cargo, proceeded toward Christiania. There was some trouble among the steerage passengers, as a watch had been stolen and a case of hats in the hold broken open. We had a rather curious scene when the trunks of the passengers were searched on their going ashore. One of the hats was found in one trunk, but the watch was not discovered. What happened to the thief on getting ashore we did not learn.
“Next morning, Monday, we were in the entrance of the Christiania Fiord, which runs up into the country for many miles, and we had a calm and pleasant sail up it until nearly one o'clock. We were then troubled by hearing as soon as we were alongside the wharf that all the hotels in Christiania were full, owing to some timber market or fair which was being held. Some of the passengers, it seemed, had telegraphed from Christiansand, but eventually a nice room was found for us, and all the other passengers, I believe, found accommodation, except one young man, who had to sleep on board the steamboat. It afterwards turned out that he had telegraphed for a room, but owing to circumstances into which I did not think it necessary to inquire minutely, we had got his room.
“After changing money, buying a few cheap novels, and completing our stock of provisions and necessaries at Mr. Bennett's, a man who is the factotum of Norwegian tourists, we set off on Tuesday morning by a railway about forty-five miles long, which goes to the foot of Miösen Lake. This is a fine long lake, no less than sixty-five miles long, up which we were conveyed by a good steamboat, crowded with Norwegians. It took the whole day, from 8 A.M. to 7 P.M., to get from Christiania here. Lillehammer is a small, curious town, at the head of Miösen (the lake is really called Miös, and en is the article the, as we discovered yesterday), and is the starting-point for the roads to the northward. There is nothing in the neighbourhood to detain us, but we are taking a little rest to-day, and shall at the most only go a couple of stages by cariole this afternoon. We propose to go in the course of a day or two to a little mountain inn, at a place called Rödsheim, afterwards we shall proceed leisurely down the Romsdal, stopping a day or two at the stations where trout fishing is to be had. I want to find a quiet place to make my first essays in the angler's art, before entering upon salmon fishing at Hotel Aak.
“Although rather tired by the voyage and the bustle at Christiania, I think I am much more fit for travelling this summer than last, and hope to come home, comparatively speaking, quite strong. …
“This morning we have delightfully bright weather, and the scenery around is cheerful and pretty, though not grand, the head of the lake being surrounded by pine-covered hills of moderate height, dotted over with bright green fields and little red farm-houses.
“They are very primitive people here; the bedrooms lead out of each other, and the maids coolly walk about your bedroom early in the morning, carrying off your boots to clean, inquiring what you will have for breakfast, etc.”
On the way to Aak Mr. Jevons stopped for a day or two at Lesje Jernvœrk, at the head of the Romsdal, on purpose to examine the lake there, which was said to have two outfalls. After a thorough examination he came to the conclusion that it was a mistake. On his return to England he sent an article on the subject to Nature, called “Lakes with two Outfalls.”
To his sister Lucy.
Meraak, Geiranger Fiord, Norway, 30th July 1873.
“We have now got nearly to the end of the world, but find it a pleasant place, in which we propose to spend two or three quiet days. We came up the Stor Fiord yesterday on a steamboat, reaching Hellesylt early in the evening. As there were rather more tourists than could be easily accommodated, we took the quietest little bedroom which you could imagine, consisting of one of the very small wooden huts which had been neatly fitted up for such use. Here we slept well until 4 A.M., when we were wakened, and had to get on board the steamboat again, as it was going to leave at 5.
“The Geiranger Fiord is a branch of the Stor Fiord, and it took us about two hours to reach Meraak. The scenery on the way was in the highest degree beautiful; in fact I was hardly ever so much pleased with any view. The fiord is bounded by vast rocky ranges, which sometimes rise in cliffs 1000 or 1500 feet almost perpendicularly out of the water. The Ncrö Fiord is a vast gorge of the same dimensions, but it is dark and gloomy, and almost terrible. In this fiord the rocks are beautifully diversified in form, clothed in many places with fine woods, in others with bright patches of green fields, on which, at surprising heights above the water, are perched little sceters or farm-houses, prettily coloured. These cottages can only be reached from the water by climbing from the boat-house at the edge of the fiord up dizzy paths winding among the rocks, where ropes or rails are requisite for safety. It is said, too, that mothers tether their children in these places, to prevent their falling over the precipices, which may be within a few yards of the door. To all the other beauties of the fiord was added that of the waterfalls. The minor fosses, streaming down the hills through thousands of feet, were almost too numerous to receive individual notice, but that known as the ‘Seven Sisters’ was so lovely that even the sailors who had passed it numberless times seemed to be none the less struck with its beauty. In times of flood it consists of seven streams, which flow down the face of a prominent cliff, through many hundreds of feet. In some places the water descended through the air in graceful festoons, as in the Staubbach; in others it coursed down the rocks, and leaped in every variety of form, so that there were hundreds of little cataracts in view at once. As we passed, the sun shone out well, and a fragmentary rainbow crossed the spray and mist which floated round. Light clouds hung about the surrounding precipices, showing their magnitude without obscuring their forms. The whole scene was more like what one might expect to see in fairyland than in this commonplace world, and you might probably travel over every part of the globe before you would find anything to surpass it.
“Meraak is a small village at the head of the Geiranger Fiord; and though the beauty here does not equal that in the lower bends of the fiord, it is grand and charming. A small hotel has been lately put up here—the celebrated ‘recently in this place rised establishment,’ of which the advertisements have been a standing amusement to Norwegian travellers. But even the scenery and the unique English of the advertisement have not brought many people to stay, so that we have the small hotel to ourselves, and the primitive people of the house are very attentive. Just outside the door is the water of the fiord, and the boat from which I intend to fish.
“My letter to Tom was posted while we were at Aak. We there passed ten or eleven days with even more pleasure than on our previous visit. I spent many hours fishing, the favourite mode being to sit in a boat, and be rowed about the river trolling for salmon, and catching perhaps once in two hours a trout of some size. As little or no skill is requisite in this kind of fishing, I was unable to account for my comparative ill luck, as I never got beyond a two pound trout, and never beyond two fish at a time. Nevertheless other men caught large trout, and three or four salmon of seven or ten pounds' weight were also caught. The visitors at Aak this year seemed more than usually agreeable. Among them were two men who proved to be old college acquaintances of Tom's and mine, the latter being pretty well known to Tom. Our chief friends were three Americans, two brothers and a sister, from Boston, whom it would be difficult not to like, and whom we shall be glad to meet again in some other part of our journey. In spite of the small rooms and somewhat scanty fare, Hotel Aak is a charming place to idle away a few weeks in, and we already talk of a third visit in some future year.
“From Aak we went down the Romsdal Fiord in a steamer and stayed one night at Molde, getting a glorious view across the broad fiord of the long range of snow-patched peaks and fjelds visible therefrom. Crossing the fiord again by steamboat about mid-day on Sunday, we took horses at Vestnaes, whence a road leads to a promontory on the Stor Fiord. During part of the four hours' drive we passed over high moorlands and among bare sloping mountains pleasantly reminding us of Wales; but as we approached Söholt, on the Stor Fiord, the scenery became still more beautiful, and the first view of the long reach of the fiord, surrounded by innumerable headlands and mountains, variegated with snow, was very charming. Söholt is a very pleasing village prettily situated on the grassy slopes around a bay of the fiord; and we passed two quiet nights in the hotel very comfortably, the only drawback being occasional heavy' rains. Here I had my most successful fishing as yet. By the aid of a little carriage we climbed up the mountains to a lake, where I got six nice trout, but not of any great size.
“Udvick, Nord Fiord, 5th August 1873.—We have now advanced somewhat on our overland journey to Bergen. From the Geiranger Fiord we returned by a four hours' boat journey to Hellesylt on the Stor Fiord, whence by a rather long and tiresome drive we got to Faleidet on the Nord Fiord. The weather is much less favourable to us this year than last, and half the long drive was passed in rain, the clouds throughout hiding the greater mountains. There was, nevertheless, much that was beautiful on the way; and the first view of the green water of the Nord Fiord, with the grand group of snowy mountains surrounding the head of the fiord, was very charming. At Faleidet is a pretty and in many respects a nice little hotel, where we stayed four days, partly on account of the rainy weather, partly because the occasional absence of proper meals or of suitable food had made both of us somewhat unwell. …
“This morning we have come over the fiord by a boat, a two hours' row, and we shall probably go on to-morrow, although it is requisite to take a twelve or fifteen hours' journey, beginning with a steep ascent up a mountain. We intend to stay at a place called Sande, where there is good river and lake trout-fishing, and afterwards we reach Bergen by steamboat.
To W. H. Brewer, Esq.
Udvick, Nord Fiord, Norway, 5th August 1873.
“I was glad to receive your letter a few days since, and to hear that the council had, as I expected, appointed you as lecturer for the following session. As I have now an opportunity of posting a letter by the steamboat to-morrow, I will answer your questions as fully as I can.
“Having had so much experience in teaching, you will of course be able to choose your own way of instruction, and I only mention my own way for sake of suggestion. Brief essays should be required from the pupil teachers. You will have to select your own style of lecturing. Some of our professors write their lectures complete and read them off; others give them entirely extempore, as in chemistry especially. My own mode is to have full notes, extracts, and written propositions of importance, and to dictate important statements verbatim and slowly, interspersing them with extempore discussions. The lecture is much relieved by occasional questions to the class generally, and I also use the blackboard upon every possible opportunity, especially in logic. You will, I hope, take these suggestions founded on my own practice for what they are worth, and your own experience will probably lead you to the best mode of instruction.
“I shall hope to be at home in England before the middle of September, when I will write again to you; and we may perhaps have the pleasure of seeing you in Manchester shortly after that. We are having very bad weather at present, every day rainy and cold; but still there is enjoyment in the continual succession of splendid scenery through which we are slowly travelling by land and water.
“Thanks for your kind wishes concerning my health. I think Norway is doing me much good on the whole, though the slight hardships we have to put up with are sometimes rather trying to those whose digestion is not very good. Nothing, however, can exceed the perfect idleness and freedom from business or anxiety which we enjoy here: we have not had any news at all since we left England five weeks ago.”
To his sister Lucy.
Sande, 12th August 1873.
“As it is a very wet morning, and the fish will not rise, I may as well write you a short account of our late proceedings. We are now in a comfortable little inn in a very pretty spot. The rugged and gloomy mountains which usually surround us on the west coast of Norway have here given place to beautifully wooded ranges of less height, and the valley is open, with a fine river wandering through it. The scenery reminds me very much of Bettws y Coed and the neighbouring parts. As the station is unusually comfortable, and there is trout-fishing in the river a few yards from the house, we are spending a quiet week here. Our companions also are agreeable, consisting at present of only the three Americans. My old college fellows also were here till this morning, and completed a quiet party.
“Since I wrote last from Faleidet and Udvig, we have had much bad weather, but have nevertheless enjoyed three days' travelling through glorious scenery. It is the peculiarity of Nonvay that there are not simply a few grand views, but an endless succession, and what we are unable to go to is often finer than what we see. From Udvig it was necessary to make a heavy day's journey, beginning at 7 A.M. by the ascent of a mountain 2200 feet high, which was so steep that we had to walk up three-quarters of the way, this being by far the heaviest climb which I have done since my illness. From the top we had a fine sight of great mountains, and a peep of the Justedal Glacier, which is said to be the largest in Europe. Driving down the other side of the mountain, we reached a fine lake, which it was necessary to pass by boat. At its upper end the lake is hemmed in by lofty precipices, but the view was to a great extent obscured by a storm of rain and wind which came on when we were halfway, and rendered our journey three hours instead of two hours long. Harriet was a little frightened by the waves, but there was no danger whatever, and the men in these lakes and fiords always keep close to the shore when they can. From the end of the lake we drove through a glorious pass, bounded by immense precipices, and scattered over at the bottom with huge boulders larger than houses. One very striking feature was a great double-pointed mountain which stood out at the turn of the valley, with a very pretty waterfall coming down some thousand feet, or perhaps two thousand, from between the two points.
“After passing a succession of small lakes, we reached the beginning of the Jölster Vand, along the shore of which we had a somewhat tedious drive of sixteen miles, getting to a small inn at 8 P.M. in the evening, well tired with the thirteen hours' travelling, a large part of which was performed in heavy rain. The fatigue of driving is often considerable, as we have to sit as well as we can in the most inconvenient little carts, jolting over rocks and stones, jumping out occasionally to walk up steep hills or sometimes down them. The next journey was a much shorter one, and along a very easy road. We afterwards came on here, along two stages of a very beautiful road, a succession of small lakes, pretty wooded hills, green slopes covered with cottages and barns; at a moderate distance also were two splendid mountains, rising precipitously about 4500 feet, and forming the commencement of a series of great mountain masses, which shaded away beautifully towards the coast.
“We have now been here four days, and the regular, plentiful meals, with plenty of exercise between, have done me great good. I can now fish for several hours in the morning and evening without being too tired. My success is not satisfactory, luck being as usual against me, the river much too full of water, and the weather usually unfavourable. The fish, too, are small, not usually exceeding half a pound, though I live in hopes of catching one of the large trout which are in the river.
“17th August.—We are still here, and I have enjoyed a good many days' fishing, with tolerable success. We leave to-morrow morning for Vadheim, on the Sogne Fiord, whence a steamboat will take us to Bergen. It is raining harder than ever this morning, and I fear there will be little more fine weather on the west coast this year. Although we carefully made arrangements for receiving letters, they have failed, and we have heard from other tourists of five letters which reached places after we had left We hope to have them in Bergen.
“The Beebes are still here with us, and go on to Bergen with us. Yesterday they went up the lake, leaving in good time in the morning, and did not get home till one o'clock this morning.
“Bergen, 19th August.—The steamer was three hours late when it reached Vadheim, and brought us into the harbour here at the inconvenient hour of midnight. To complete our misfortunes, the hotel was full when we got to it, so that Harriet and I had to lie down and sleep on the sofas in the eating-room until 6 A.M. this morning, when a large American party left, and we went to bed in one of their rooms. We have been glad to get letters here, and I am especially pleased to have Tom's, stating that he has got safely to England, and mentioning his plans. …
“Bergen is amusing even on our third visit to it, but the weather is still rainy. We probably leave here the day after to-morrow, and cross the Fille Fjeld to Christiania. …”
On the 8th September he wrote to his sister to tell her that they had reached home, and on the 18th he wrote again to her from Chester:—
“I ought to have again written to you without so much delay, but I have been rather busy. We are now engaged in driving our pony and carriage home from Oxton, where Will has been taking care of it for us. I have taken advantage of the opportunity to drive Harriet round Wirral in order to show her West Kirby, Heswell, Parkgate, and the other places which were so familiar to us in our youth. We stayed one night at Hoylake, a second at Chester, and expect to reach home this evening, by way of Delamere and Northwich. We are looking forward with pleasure to our visit to Ludlow. …”
Except for a brief visit to Ludlow, Mr. Jevons remained at home for the rest of the year, being occupied in concluding his Principles of Science.
Though he did not lecture this session, he was present at the opening of the new Owens College Buildings, which took place at the beginning of October. In commemoration of the event the professors and lecturers published a volume of Essays and Addresses on various subjects. Mr. Jevons contributed an essay on “Railways and the State,” in which he pointed out the fallacies in the argument that because the Government managed the Post Office well, they would be able to manage the railways well, and expressed his opinion that the purchase of the railways by the State was a quite impracticable scheme.
To his sister Lucy.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 17th December 1873.
“I think that I have never written to you since we left Ludlow. It was a pleasant time we had there in spite of my being occasionally knocked up. … I am sure that I feel noises far less than I used to do when my nerves were all unstrung without my knowing it. My landlord is building two new houses within a few yards of my study windows, but the noise has not been the least hindrance to me, and I almost think I could stand barrel organs now.
“I hope to finish the book before Christmas day. There are only a few proofs now remaining to be corrected. It is hardly likely that the book can be bound and finished before some time in February. I wish I could have sent it for a Christmas present, but I will try to have one sent when it is ready.
To his sister Lucy.
Parsonage Road, Withington, 19th December 1873.
“… Thanks for your good wishes on our wedding-day. As every year goes on I congratulate myself on having got so good a wife, and my only fear in life, as I may almost say, is of becoming too dependent on her.
“I will remember about my father's grave, and will try to get it photographed, but it is not always easy to manage in England, and with my entire want of knowledge of the language there may be some difficulty, Harriet, however, is learning up her Italian, and may, perhaps, manage it. …”
On the 25th December he wrote to his sister:—
“I have just finished the last proof of the Principles, so that I think I shall have agreeable recollections connected with this Christmas day. …”