The request so honourable to myself, to be the Herbert Spencer lecturer of this year, aroused a multitude of vivid recollections. Spencer's strong personality, his complete devotion to a self-imposed and life-long task, together with rare gleams of tenderness visible amidst a wilderness of abstract thought, have left a unique impression on my mind that years fail to weaken.
I do not propose to speak of his writings; they have been fully commented on elsewhere, but I desire to acknowledge my personal debt to him, which is large. It lies in what I gained through his readiness to discuss any ideas I happened to be full of at the time, with quick sympathy and keen criticism. It was his custom for many afternoons to spend an hour or two of rest in the old smoking room of the Athenaeum Club, strolling into an adjoining compartment for a game of billiards when the table was free. Day after day on those afternoons I enjoyed brief talks with him, which were often of exceptional interest to myself.