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Foreword   3

he was eighty. How then shall one, who knew him-however intimately-only in the last years of life portray the mental evolution which was proceeding stage by stage for fifty years before friendship began? A very slight introspection tells each one of us how complex was the scaffolding by which the structure of our own intellectual opinions has been reared ; how many attempts, how many failures, how many moulding men and things have contributed their part ! How little of this do even our life-long intimates know, how little finds its expression in diaries, letters or the printed word ! Could such things enable one to understand the whole nature of a man, the present writer, owing to the extreme kindness of the relatives and friends of Francis Galton, would have small need to lament the failure of his task. But the sense of failure has grown as these. pages took form. The man of strength and character, who knew what he wished to accomplish and carried it through ; the leader who inspired us is there-even as we read him in Furse's portrait-but the evolution of the man-the story of the mental growth, which should be the aim of every genuine biographer-is seen but darkly and from afar; it is but faintly shadowed in the written word and screened to dimness by those barriers of which the author has spoken. For reasons such as these he can only hope to place before his readers 'some phases of Francis Galton's life and some aspects of his scientific work. The real story of that life, the steep ascents, leading to wider horizons, won as all victorious minds have won them by struggle with earlier opinions and with a-less developed self, the arduous final acceptance of new ideas as triumphant certitudes ; these things the writer can but trace as they appear indistinctly to him ; others will_ and must interpret in their own way, and will doubtless reach different view-points.

Galton of all men would not have desired this biography to be a panegyric. To be of service it must be, as he would have wished it, the life of a real man, of a man who makes mistakes, who has wandered from the. path, or stumbled, who has striven after the wholly illusory, or towards things beyond his individual reach. The difference between the ordinary' mortal and the one of subtler mind is not that the former strays, and the latter does not, but that the deviations in the one case leave no permanent impress, while in the other they are coined into a golden experience, which forms the wisdom marking the riper life. Hundreds of men have failed to reach distinction or gain immediate


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