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258   MEMORIES OF MY LIFE

burst into a good-humoured and uproarious laugh, and told me the famous story which I have heard from each of the other two who were present on the occurrence. H uxley was one of them. Spencer, during a pause in conversation at dinner at the Athenaeum, said, "You would little think it, but I once wrote a tragedy." Huxley answered promptly, " I know the catastrophe." Spencer declared it was impossible, for he had never spoken about it before then. Huxley insisted. Spencer asked what it was. Huxley replied, " A beautiful theory, killed by a nasty, ugly little fact."