222 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
1847 to the Fellowship of the Royal Society who has not done a large amount of sound work, and the credit of the Society has been continuously maintained at a high level.
Many persons imagine in their innocence that when any one appends letters to his name testifying to his being a Fellow of one or more learned societies that he is necessarily a scientific expert. This is true for hardly any other society than the Royal. I n all others the letters show little more than that the person who uses them is sufficiently interested in the sciences in question to make it worth his while to pay an annual subscription. I have served on the Councils of many of these societies, and can only recall two cases in which a proposed candidate was not elected. In the one, the man had been imprisoned for a grave offence ; in the other, he was a wastrel well known to avoid paying his debts.
Many pleasant days have been spent by me under the hospitable roof of Mr. and Mrs. Hills. She was, as already mentioned, a daughter of Sir William Grove, and has been one of my closest friends ever since the terrible illness of my wife mentioned above. Her husband, Judge Hills, died very recently. H e was a judge in Alexandria, where he resided during the larger part of the year, but returned every autumn to exercise hospitality in England.
The conversational powers of Sir William Grove were remarkable when he was sufficiently excited to show them to advantage. One evening, before going to a distant meeting of the British Association, he, Professor Huxley, and myself, dined together at the same table at the Athenaeum. Never, before or since,