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the world owns as its greatest men, he rises to their level in the moral grandeur of his life. And it is this that still hallows his memory among Englishmen. He stands, indeed, in the forefront of his race, for he is the noblest, as he is the most complete embodiment of all that is great, all that is loveable in the English temper; of its practical energy, its patient and enduring force, of the reserve and self-control that give steadiness and sobriety to a wide outlook and restless daring, of its temperance and fairness, its frankness and openness, its sensitiveness to affection, its poetic tenderness, its deep and reverent religion. Religion, indeed, was the groundwork of his character. His temper was instinct with piety— the name of God, the thought of God stir him to outbursts of ecstatic adoration. But of the narrowness, the want of proportion, the predominance of one quality over another, which commonly goes with intensity of religious feeling, or of moral purpose, he showed not a trace. He felt none of that scorn of the world about him which drove the nobler souls of his day to monastery or hermitage. Vexed as he was by sickness and constant pain, not only did his temper take no touch of asceticism, but a rare geniality, a peculiar elasticity and mobility of nature, gave colour and charm to his life. He had the restless outlook of the artistic nature, its tenderness and susceptibility, its quick apprehension of unseen danger, its craving for affection, its sensitiveness to wrong. It was with himself rather than with his reader that he communed, as thought of the foe without, or of ingratitude and opposition within, broke the calm pages of Gregory or Boëthius; but the loneliness that breathes in such words never begot in him a contempt for men or the judgment of men. Nor could danger or disappointment check his vivid activity. From end to end of his reign every power was bent to the work of rule. His practical energy found scope in a material and administrative restoration of the wasted land; his intellectual energy breathed fresh life into education and literature; while his capacity for inspiring trust and affection drew the hearts of Englishmen to a common centre, and began the upbuilding of England. Little by little men came to recognize Ælfred as a ruler of higher and nobler stamp than the world had seen. Never had it seen a King who lived only for the good of his people. Never had it seen a ruler who set aside every personal aim to devote himself solely to the welfare of those whom he ruled. It was this grand self-mastery that won him love and reverence in his own day, and that has hallowed his memory

ever since. "I desire," said the King, "to leave to men that come after me a remembrance of me in good works." His aim has been more than fulfilled. His memory has come down to us with a living distinctness through the mists of exaggeration and legend which time gathered round it. The instincts of the people have clung to him with a singular affection. The love which he won one thousand years ago has lingered from that day to this. While every other name of those early times has faded from recollection, that of Ælfred remains familiar to every English child.




THE infrequency of total eclipses of the sun at any given locality is somewhat remarkable.

Taking London, as an example, the last eclipse total there dates back to the year 1715, and its immediate predecessor was considered for a long time, upon the authority of the celebrated Halley (a former AstronomerRoyal), to have taken place in the year 1140; this date has, however, subsequently proved to be incorrect, and it is necessary to go back to A.D. 878, in the reign of King Alfred, to find an eclipse total at London.

On the 22nd May, 1724, the last eclipse total in England occurred, but on this occasion complete obscuration did not extend to the metropolis, but passed a little to the north of that city.

During the nineteenth century no eclipse has been total in England, and if we look to the future the interval is still immense, for, during the twentieth century, there will only be two notable eclipses, of which the one in 1999 will be total in the west of England, but not at London.

In the twenty-first century there will occur, in the year 2090, a total eclipse in the south-west of England, visible only for fifteen minutes before sunset, and it has been calculated there cannot be a total solar eclipse visible at London any time before the end of the twenty-fourth century.

As the apparent magnitude of the lunar disc is often.

equal to, and sometimes greater than, that of the sun, it would at first appear that there should be a total eclipse of the sun as often as one of the moon. It is owing, however, to the small actual size of the moon as compared with that of the sun (the ratio of their respective diameters being as 1 to 500) that only those places on the earth which happen to lie almost directly under an imaginary axial line, joining the centres of the two bodies, can be covered by the moon's shadow; and in no case can the width of a strip of the earth's surface swept by the shadow of totality exceed 180 miles.

The limit of duration of totality is governed by the same circumstances; this cannot exceed eight minutes, and may be anything less.

It has been calculated that if it had been possible for an indefatigable observer to occupy the best positions at every total eclipse of the sun during the last fifty years, he might have been able (clear skies being granted) to have averaged a period of one minute per annum of totality.

The cause of science has, however, suffered little, for the numbers of observers who have concentrated themselves upon the narrow track of totality during the eclipses of the last fifty years have done much to neutralize this lack of opportunity.

The eclipse of 1842 attracted both Mr. Airey (the Astronomer-Royal) and Mr. F. Baily from this country to the South of France; and the much more arduous journey of M. Louville, who travelled from Paris to London for the express purpose of seeing the total eclipse of 1715 must not be forgotten. A description of this eclipse appeared in Mémoires de l'Académie des Sciences for that year.

These were pioneers who opened out the way for the crowded expeditions which are carried out in our day under such comparatively advantageous circumstances.

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