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SCHLEIDEN AND SCHWANN
With that grand movement of the biological sciences that began about 1838, and of which we to-day contemplate the superb bloom, two names are inseparably connected-Schleiden and Schwann.
MATTHIAS MULLER was a shoemaker, which means that he was poor but honest. Not everyone in his neighborhood was well-shod by any means, and it is absurd for a shoemaker to be idle amongst barefooted people, but this is a mystery of political economy which we must leave to the disciples of Comrade Marx. Had it not been for Napoleon's soldiery who overran the country and needed their boots mended when they visited the farmers' daughters, Müller's wife would have made few visits to the baker. And as all cobblers obey the injunction to replenish the earth, Matthias Müller had a brood to feed.
Little Johannes, for instance, forgot he was a poor man's child, and ate with a royal appetite. Johannes was a sturdy self-assertive lad who wandered all over the town on his bowlegs. Sometimes his mother couldn't find him, and then she was sure he was drowned, for the Müllers lived at Coblenz - where the river Rhine meets the waters of the Moselle.
Once Johannes walked a long way thru the vineyards till he reached an imposing rock at which a group of people were looking. A few of the women had note-books in their hands, and one of the men was standing in front of the others, pointing with a cane and speaking: 'Very long ago, as the twilight came down from the hills, a water-nymph would appear on this rock, and she would sing soft and low until darkness was overcome by light, and day drove the gray mists from the valley. So beautiful was she, as she sat there combing her golden hair by moon-shine, and so sweetly she sang her plaintive lullaby, that whenever a boatman heard her voice he lost
his senses, and swooning with desire he steered toward the maiden. But already when he dreamed of possessing her, he would strike against the reefs and perish. The bold Roland, the son of the Palatinate count, heard of the enchantress, and determined to see her. He took an old sailor with him, and as they rowed towards the cliffs,-' here the guide spoke confidentially, and Johannes could hear nothing more. But the Müllers did not believe in the Lorelei, for they were good Roman Catholics and had enough legends of their own.
When the boy's biceps grew shapely, his father planned that Johannes also should work with leather, but not as a cobbler, as a harness-maker. He would fashion the winkerstraps and the breeching, the check-rein and the belly-band. But the mother demurred the child was so bright — all the neighbors said so if they could only send him to the Sekunden Schule so he could become a priest - perhaps they could manage somehow? Matthias Müller sighed and shook his head mournfully—but Johannes was sent to school for all that.
'During the past several years,' writes Dr Charles Gilmore Kerley,' the sons of shoemakers, carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers, etc., did not wish to follow the occupation of the father. These boys would be lawyers, bank presidents, physicians, and sorry to relate some of them became lawyers and physicians.'
But Kerley is an ass and heredity an illusion: the sons of scholars yawned over their books and tried to bribe the shoemaker's child to do their lessons. The school-room was to be Johannes Müller's domain for the rest of his life. Deciding to study medicine he entered the University of Bonn, and at the age of nineteen he secured a prize for his researches into the respiration of the fetus. At twenty-two he was appointed privat-docent; at twenty-five he was extraordinary professor; three years later he was full professor.
In 1833 occurred the death of the distinguished Rudolphi of Berlin, and Müller wrote to the authorities, 'With the excep
tion of Meckel no one in Germany can fill this post as well as I.' Evidently this was the same Müller who a few years previous, when wooing a girl, wrote her a poem declaring that as a marriage settlement he offers her no money but an immortal name. But folks were not in the habit of saying to Johannes Müller, 'You are conceited.' Without delay he won Anna Zeiler and Rudolphi's chair.
For twenty-five years he remained Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Berlin, and during that quarter of a century he was probably the most conspicuous man in the scientific world. Nearly every worker who added a stone to the structure of German science received instruction and inspiration from this great teacher. No single discovery of paramount importance is associated with the name Johannes Müller, but the jewels that he could exhibit were Virchow, Brücke, Henle, Wagener, Helmholtz, Bois-Reymond, Claparede, Ludwig, Schwann, Volkmann, Reichert, Lachmann, Vierordt, Trochel, Kölliker, Remak, Lieberkuhn, Haeckel.
The spirit that animated Müller's lecture-room recalls the days when Plato stood in the Academic Grove, and Aristotle pondered in the Lyceum, and Epicurus philosophized in the Garden, and Socrates walked the market-place followed by his pupils. Students flocked to Müller not merely to pass examinations and receive a diploma- they came with full hearts, in a glowing fervor, like pilgrims to a shrine. To work under Müller was not an incident in one's medical career: it was an epoch never to be forgotten. So magnetic was his personality, a glance from his splendid eyes made such a lasting impression, that in an earlier century Müller could easily have become the founder of a religion. As it was, many felt and claimed that there was the stamp of the supernatural upon him. Emerson wrote an essay on Character, but Johannes Müller lived it.
Only once did Müller come in conflict with his pupils, and then the master's voice fell on unheeding ears. Then the youths who had sat at his feet rose up and deserted him. The