4 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
profit by their school education, by their college careers, by their professional training, or by their early travels. There was a period when Galton's fate seemed to hang in the balance, when-it appeared as if he would become an English country gentleman, whose pleasure lay in sport and whose aim in life was good comradeship. . Then the instinct for creative action mastered his nature, and every apparent failure of the past seemed to have borne, not bitter fruit, but a golden experience essential to labours, which the reaper had never foreseen when he garnered his harvest. That conception is the key to the first thirty years of Galton's life. It will be found, we think, a clue to the lives of many men of power, who strive in turn towards numerous goals, before they have learnt to realise their fitting sphere of achievement. Such apprenticeship with all its possible bungling, such Lehr- and Wanderjahre, can only be reckoned as idle when the matured journeyman fails to produce his masterpiece.
Of one thing we are certain, that the reader, who will follow patiently our hero through the great and the little, through the apparently trivial and the apparently vital incidents of this story, cannot fail to fall in love with a nature, which met life so joyously, and from childhood to extreme old age was resolved to see life at its best and be responsive to its many-sided experiences. Because Galton was a specialist in few, if any directions, because he appreciated without stint many forms of human activity, he was able to achieve in many spheres, where the established powers with greater craftsmanship but narrower outlook had failed to recognise that there were still verities to be ascertained. In the "fallow years" Galton wandered joyously through life, but he had been and he had seen, and he was thus trained, as few specialists are trained, to achieve in a marked degree.