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vocation to be an authoress, to write stitution des anneaux de Saturn." A novels, and to this end it was indispen- third, “ Sur la réduction d'une certaine sable that she should “study life.” classe d'intégrales abéliennes du troiShe was supplied with exceptionally sième degré à des intégrales ellipample material for this study, inasmuch tiques.” So admirable was the quality as she was destined to be in Paris dur- of her work, that the faculty of the ing its siege by the Prussians, and university couferred on her the rare during the horrors of the Commune. distinction of a degree granted in ab As soon as it was possible to obtain sentia, and without further examina. access to
the city, Sophie hurried tion. thither under the protection of her hus- It was a strange party that now asband, to discover her sister's fate. sembled at Palibino in the long winter Anna had plunged into the thick of the nights in the “Salon with the red damintrigues and conspiracies of the Con- ask furniture, whilst the samovar hissed mune, and had “ formed a
on the tea-table, and the hungry wolves tion !” (knutit en förbindelse) with a howled in the lonely park.” Sopbie young Frenchman and Communist. was suffering from reaction after the Unable to induce Anna to leave Paris, severe mental strain she had endured. or to be of much service to her there, She was worn out, and for the time Sophie and Vladimir, after a short stay incapable of further effort ; she passed and some stirring experiences, returned her time in reading novels and playing to Berlin. But after the fall of the cards. Anna's life-studies,” loo, it Commune, the former received an must be admitted, had been of an exurgent letter from Anua to the effect hausting nature ; she asked for that M. J- was in prison and con- more experiences of the kind, no more demned to death. Anna was now suchi violent sensations. Moreoverprepared to implore her father's for- alas that it should have to be recorded ! giveness and his help in these terrible - she was terribly, even jealously, in circumstances.
love with her husband! She, the rigid Suffering keenly under the fresh Anna of the earlier years, with the blow to every cherished sentiment in- lofty scorn of all such “ vulgar sentiflicted on him by his eldest daughter, ments,” to this complexion had she General Kroukovsky hastened to Paris. come at last. We are told that to Former friendly relations with M. Sophie it was a source of much pleasThiers seem to have enabled him to ure to observe the change that had snatch M. J— from the impending taken place in her father's character. fusillade, and to hurry him and Anna It had become much modified under out of France to the safe seclusion of the undoubtedly “ severe training” to Palibino. Such were the circumstances which his daughter had subjected him ; under which “ Aviouta" returned to the so that in these days he tolerated on shelter of her old home. A little later the one hand the revolutionary and the family circle was completed by the socialistic sentiments of his Communist arrival of Sophie and Vladimir. The son-in-law, who with a • somewhat former had obtained the degree of doc- cynical expression on his face, regarded tor from the University of Göttingen, his surroundings from the depths of his to which by the advice of Weierstrasse, red easy-chair,” and on the other hand she had sent three papers, all of which the materialistic tendencies of the scihe pronounced to be of great scientific entific pair. Poor Ivan Sergeievitch ! value. One of these (“ Zur Theorie it is impossible not to feel very sorry der partiellen Differentialgleichungen,” for him, and one almost welcomes the Crelles Journal, Bd. 80) ranks as one intelligence that his education - at of the most important of her pro- least in this stage of his existence ductions. Another valuable paper was was carried no further. He died sudentitled, “Additions avec remarques denly of heart disease. Probably his aux recherches de Laplace sur la con. I character was not the only thing that
was " modified” by the severity of the been induced to commit a more fatal tasks set him. His death was the sig- mistake than the rash monetary vennal for the dispersion of the family. tures of his later days, and who, in a There were to be no more long winter position beset with difficulties, had, evenings spent at Palibino.
upon the whole, borne bimself well. Sophie felt her father's loss keenly. The shock of this unlooked-for event, Between her mother and herself there and the bitterness of her self-reproach, had never from earliest childhood been cost Sophie a long and painful nervous any deep sympathy. Anna turned for illness, out of which she struggled, sadconsolation to her husband, to whom dened and woru, and suddenly become she was devoted. To Sophie, at this years older. It was well for her that moment, the loneliness of her existence work was henceforth to be not merely seemed too terrible to be lovger borne. a distraction, or a congenial occupation, She resolved to bear it no longer, and but a ecessity, a means by which she she proposed to her husband that they was to win daily bread for herself and should relinquish the attempt - which her child. In her moments of deep now seemed to her more painfully un- depression she was wont to turn to natural than ever to base their life mathematics, and to rejoice that there on “ fiction."
existed a world “ from which the 'I'
was entirely excluded.” A new chapter in M. Kovalevsky's During one of the recent years spent life had commenced which opened in St. Petersburg Madame Kovalevsky hopefully, even brilliantly ; but it, too, had made the acquaintance of the was destiued to become overshadowed Swedish Professor Mittag-Leffler, like and to end in catastrophe. The next herself a former pupil of Weierstrasse. few years were passed by M. and Mme. He had been much impressed by her Kovalevsky in St. Petersbury, where great abilities and by the extent of her the latter found herself a centre of at- scientitic knowledge, aud was very traction and admiration, amid its scien- anxious to secure her services for the tific and social circles. Unhappily they benefit of his native city. He prowere soon overtaken by serious pecu- posed, therefore, that she should come viary embarrassments brought about to Stockholm, and associate herself by the failure of rash speculations, into with him in teaching as bis “ Docent." which M. Kovalevsky had been tempted Madame Kovalevsky gladly accepted to enter. Mere material loss appears to his offer, and came to Stockholm in the have had few terrors for his wife, who winter of the year 1883–84. The course in this crisis stood loyally by his side, of lectures which she delivered during and endeavored to lighten the burden this winter season were, therefore, of of discouragement which pressed on an unofficial and private character, but him as he realized that he had reduced so noteworthy were they in all respects his wife and child to poverty. (Ma- that they sufficed to establish her dame Kovalevsky's only child was born reputatiou as a teacher. in St. Petersburg in 1878). But the Not only did they manifest the exrelations between this strange pair be- tent and profundity of her kuowledge, came once more strained, and this time but they proved that she possessed, in it was the wife who, with tears and re-au unusual degree, the power of improaches, fed precipitately from her parting it to others. As a lecturer she home, resolved to earn a livelihood for displayed an almost unique power of herself and her little daughter in a for- interesting and stimulating her heareigo land. Iu Paris she received noters, of taking possession of her audilong after the intelligence of her hus-ence and carrying it along with her, of band's death. Life had become too infusing into it some portion of her paiuful and complicated an affair for own enthusiasm.
“ To those among the simple-hearted and unfortunate her pupils,” says M. Mittag-Leffler, Vladimir, who in his early youth had l who possessed the power and the
will to follow her, she delighted to relief the marked dualism of her nacommunicate the extraordinary wealth ture, this was the precise moment of her knowledge and the profound chosen by Destiny to place her face to insight of her penetratiug genius." face with a momentous crisis affecting This course of lectures gained for her her whole inner life ; to provide each the appointment to the chair of higher side of her twofold nature with its apmathematics at the University of propriate stimulus, aud to leave the Stockholm. All opposition fell away opposing tendencies to a bitter conflict. before this incontestable evidence of In a word, in the maturity of her superiority, and in July, 1884, she was womanhood, and in the full swing of appointed to the position, which she her intellectual activity, Madame Kooccupied until her death.
valevsky met the man who alone had In the autumn of the same year the power to awake within ber a deep (1884) she completed a valuable work, and passionate love. begun some time before, on
He was a Russian, and apparently a Refraction of Light in a Crystalline man of worth and merit. He, on his Medium” (Ljusetts brytning i ett kris- side, was strongly attracted by his distalliniskt mediuni), which was at once tinguished country woman, and asked translated into German, and was re- her to become bis wife. But, rightly ceived with warm admiration by her or wrougly, she believed that his feel. old friend and master, Weierstrasse. ing for her was not the same as that In a lively letter to a friend in Berlin, with which she regarded him, that it dated April, 1885, she describes her was admiration for the scientist rather life in Stockholm at this period — her than love for her as a woman ; and this three lectures a week in Swedish, her she could not brook. Hers was not a contributions to a mathematical jour- nature that could content itself with nal, the quantity of work she had half measures, least of all where undertaken together with Professor the affections were concerned. She Mittag-Leffler, and her lessons in skat- struggled “ with all her soul's energy" ing and in riding (in neither of which to win from him the same love that she exercises does she seem to have ex. had bestowed on him ; and she could celled); but she expressed at this time never feel that she had succeeded. It a strong desire to make up for her lost was her nature to love exactingly and youth, to which she looked back with lyraunically, to demand an absolute deregret, as having been passed without votion ; yet she was conscious that she
young girl's customary joys and was unable to make a corresponding pleasures.
sacrifice of herself, of her gifts, her It was, however, during the two fol- work, her position. She felt it an im. lowing years (1886–88) that Madame perious uecessity to belong to herself, Kovalevsky undertook the crowning to be mistress of herself, of her time, scientific labor of her life. She re- of her actions ; but that the man she solved to enter the lists as a competitor loved should recognize these claims of for the Bordin prize, to be bestowed, genius, and, bowing to them, should in the year 1888, by the French Acad- withdraw his own, plunged her into emy of Science for the best treatise on the bitterness of despair. the following subject : “ To perfect It was under such conditions, and in one important point the theory of with her intellectual powers strained to the movement of a solid body round an the utmost, that she labored day and immovable point.” The contest for night during several months previous this prize once entered on, the winning to the completion and sending in of her of it became, says her biographer, "a work to the French Academy. In July necessity" for her, inasmuch as all her of the year 1888 the commission apmathematical friends knew of her de pointed to report on the Bordin prize termination to compete. And as if announced that it had unanimously dewith the view of bringiug iuto sharp I cided to award this prize to the Thesis
bearing the Number 2. “ The author | triumph was not confined to Paris. It ... of this remarkable work,” says was hailed with pride at St. Petersburg, the report, “ has not been content with Berlin, and Stockholm. She had wou adding a result of the highest interest a position awid the ranks of the foreto those which have been transmitted most scientists of the Continent, and, to us on this subject by Euler aud La- in the eyes of the world, she seemed to grange ; he has made an exhaustive occupy a position as enviable as it was study of the discovery which we owe unique. But the world was mistaken. to him, in which are employed the Before a month had passed (in Janentire resources of the modern theory uary, 1889) she writes thus from Paris of functions."
to M. Mittag-Leffler :The sealed note attached to this
I have just received your friendly letter. paper was opened, and was found to How thankful I am for your friendship. contain the name of Sophie Kovalev- It seems to me that it is the only really sky. On the following 24th of Decem- good thing which life has left me. . . . ber the prizes were delivered at a From all sides I receive letters of congratupublic meeting held for that purpose, lation, and, by a strange irony of fate, I when the president said : “ Among the was never in my life so wretched as I am crowus which we are about to bestow, Miserable as a dog! No! I hope one of the most important and most for the dogs' sake that they cannot be so difficult to obtain will be placed on a miserable as men, and above all as women woman's brow. The grand prize in can be. But I shall become more reasonmathematical science will be carried
able in time ; at any rate I will try to be so.
I return to my rooms at night only to off this year by Mme. Kovalevsky.
pace up and down. I have neither appeOur colleagues of the Section of Geom-tite nor sleep, and my nervous system is in etry have recognized in this work the a frightful state. Adieu. Preserve your proofs, not only of extensive and pro- friendship for me ; I assure you I greatly found learning, but also of great powers need it. of original research.”
A few months later she writes to It was announced that, in recogni. Mme. Edgren-Leffler : tion of the extraordinary merits of the paper, the judges had decided to raise I work because I must, but I neither
You can the amount of the prize from three hope nor desire anything more. thousand to five thousand francs. This scarcely conceive to what a degree I feel
indifferent to everything. was the crowning moment in the scientitic career of the distinguished author When, in the following September, of Treatise No. 2.
she returned to Stockholm, her friends Seated in the midst of one of the found her nuch changed. Her old most noteworthy scientific assemblies bright look was gone, and her eyes had in Europe the centre of observation, lost their fire. 6. To outsiders she enthe object of unstinted admiration and deavored to appear cheerful ; but to us congratulations — we would fain believe who stood near her,” says her friend, that there was crowded into that hour " the alteration was very marked. She of triumph a reward, in some degree, had lost her old pleasure in society, not adequate to her previous toils and sor- only for that of strangers, but also for rows. During the last days of the year ours. She took up her lectures as a 1888 and the opening ones of 1889, she matter of duty, but without any interest was the heroine of the learned circles in them.” It was rather to literary of Paris, and her time was passed in work, to the writing of romances,
that the midst of a veritable whirlpool of she turned as a distraction from painful excitement. She went from fête to fête, reflections. It was a welcome relief to listened to speeches in which her health her thus to describe her own inner hiswas proposed and returned thanks for story. “Væ Victis " was the title of the compliment, received “interview- the novel with which she busied herself ers and visitors 'all day long. Her at this period.
LIVING AGE. VOL. VI. 304
Few women have won so much fame, so from defeat, and success which is but much success ; yet in this book it is the another uame for failure. There was story of the “Vanquished" that she seeks never a period in Sophie Kovalevsky's to tell. She felt herself, in spite of all her intellectual career, in which her mag. triumphs, to be one of the “ Vanquished," for she had failed in the “Struggle for failed to carry her triumphantly to the
niticent gifts and her indomitable will Happiness,” 1 and her sympathy was always with them that go under, never with the goal she wished to attain ; nor a period fortunate.
in which the friend, who stood nearest A deep sympathy with suffering was one to her, failed to catch the sorrowful of her characteristic traits ; not the Chris- words : “Thou would'st not think how tian idea of compassion for suffering, but ill all's here about my heart." sympathy (medlidande) in the literal mean- Taking the direction of her life into ing of the word. She felt the sorrows of her own hands, and choosing for her. others as her own, but not with any idea of self one of the steepest paths to fame, seeking to console them, rather with de- she traversed it with swift and steady spair over life's misery.
steps, only to find, when she had In the last year of her life (1890) she reached the summit, that at her feet entertained great hopes of being elected there was a chasm which she could not a member of the Academy of St. Peters- cross, and that whilst glory was on this burg, not only because it was the great- side happiness lay on the other; the est honor that Russia could bestow “ heart's happiness,” the happiness of on an eminent scientist, but because being loved and cherished, which was the emoluments of the position would the lot of so many “ordinary women, enable her to live, and would free her who are the first, the best beloved in from the necessity, now become intol- their own little circle," and it was this, erable to her, of continuing her work not glory, that she “wanted most.” in Stockholm.
Neither Madame Kovalevsky nor her But, in truth, for her the need for biographer seeks to deny or to ignore work of any kind was destined soon to this truth. Both of them, we imagine,
In February, 1891, she was must be classed as eminent examples attacked by an illness, the gravity of of the type of woman, who, with a tine which was perhaps scarcely recognized sense of discrimination, describes her. by herself or those about her, aud with self as “ new ;” but they occupied too which her state of deep mental depres- high an intellectual standpoint to be sion fitted her but badly to contend. merely the bliod partisans of a precouIt ended fatally after three or fourceived theory, or to refuse to recognize days. In a foreign land, alone, save “ the inexorable logic of facts.” Nafor the presence of the “ Elizabeth Sis- ture, whilst endowing Sophie Kovalevter,” who was watching her, the end sky with a masculine intellect, left her
essentially, unalterably, and before all It was Madame Kovalevsky's often- else, a woman. Here, as every page of expressed wish that the story of her her history abundantly proves, lay the life should be written by her friend. secret of her inharmonious and sorPossessed by a strong presentiment rowful life. It is only too probable that she herself would die young, and that many other women, without posthat her friend would outlive her, she sessing her genius, will repeat her sad exacted from the latter a promise that experience. Not because she is infeshe would write her biography. It is rior to man, rather because she is in impossible to lay down the book in this respect his superior, is it true that, which Madame Edgren-Leffler has ful- for a woman, love, not glory, is the filled her task, without a sense of sad supreme good. ness and a feeling akin to dismay.
Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, Here is victory not to be distinguished
'Tis woman's whole existence. 1 The title of another of her manuscripts.
ELLIS WARREN CARTER.