"Childhood and Boyhood 65
Grandfather Samuel Galton at Duddeston, where a large party was asked to meet her.
" She told my mother," writes Mrs Wheler, " that she would like to see Francis, then a year and a half old, as her youngest child was about the same age. My mother said she would fetch him, but he was so shy, she feared, he would not make friends with her. Mrs Fry said, ' Oh, never mind, I think he will.' My mother brought him into the room, where seeing so many people he hid his face on his mother's shoulder and would not look up. She sat down by Mrs Fry, who took no notice of him ; soon after she took a little box full of comfits out of her pocket, and held it out towards the child but looking the other way, and talking to the company. My mother whispered `Look, Francis,' and the child seeing no one observed him, sat on my mother's knee looking at the comfits. By and bye, he slid down, seized a comfit and ran back ; Mrs Fry took no notice, and he soon stood by her helping himself. She then gently lifted him upon her knee, taking no notice, when he soon began talking to her himself."
His sister Adele's education, besides providing him with modern English poetry, taught him to appreciate the Iliad and Odyssey. Leonard Horner, paying a visit to Tertius Galton in 1828, would frequently question the little Francis about points in Homer. At last Francis grew weary of the cross-examination, and one day when the usual questioning began, replied : " Pray, Mr Horner, look at the last line in the twelfth Book of the Odyssey-," and ran off.
So excited did he grow over the Iliad, that as a partizan of the
Greeks he was known to burst into tears, when he came to the part where Diomed is wounded by Paris.
Probably apart from poetry his sister Adele a child herselfrather forced the pace. He knew his capital letters by 12, and both his alphabets by 18, months of age. He could read a little book Cobwebs to catch Flies when 22 years old, and could sign his name before 3 years. I have before me his actual signature on January 10, 1825, as
witnessed by his sisters Adele and Emma. From his fourth year a laconic letter2 has survived
1 " But why rehearse all this tale? For even yesterday I told it to thee and to thy noble wife in thy house: and it liketh me not twice to tell a plain-told tale." Butcher and Lang's version, p. 206.
2 A similar letter to his father, dated Sept. 26, 1826, thanks him for the gift of a toy. There is also a quaint little paper book,, containing two paper pages stitched in blue paper; the first, second and part of the third side are occupied by two scripture texts written by Francis when four years old, but the remainder of the third and fourth side are filled in the same round hand with the remark : "Papa why do you call my books dirty that come from the Ware-house? I think they are very clean."
P. G. 9