66 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
got Ducks. I know
a Nest. I mean
to make a
It is written between pencil lines in a round hand, and there is an endorsement by his mother Violetta, saying that Francis wrote and spelt it entirely himself.
The day before his fifth birthday he wrote a letter to his sister Adele. The handwriting is now much more formed and the ruled lines have disappeared. He writes
MY DEAR ADkLE,
I am four years old and I can read any English book. can say all the Latin Substantives and Adjectives and active verbs besides 52 lines of Latin poetry. I can cast up any sum in addition and can multiply by
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, , 10, .
I can also say the pence table. I read French a little and I know the Clock.
The only misspelling is in the date, which is corrected as indicated. The number 9 has been carefully erased with a penknife and the number 11 has a small square of paper pasted over it ! Little Francis was evidently conscious that he had claimed too much, but as experience showed that penknife erasure tore the thin paper, the pastepot was used to obliterate the second unjustly claimed multiplier !
In a letter written by a visitor to the Larches on December 28, 1828, we read
" We are both delighted with the- girls particularly the two eldest-they are so pleasing and unaffected, and so very amiable. The youngest child Francis is a prodigy.
He is 7 next February, and reads and enjoys Marmion, The Lady of the Lake, Cowper's, Pope's and Shakespeare's works for pleasure, and by reading a page twice over, repeats
it by heart. He writes a beautiful hand, is in long division; has been twice through the Latin grammar, all taught by Adele. Bessy and Lucy are very modest girls with
a constant habit of being employed."
It is pleasant to catch this impression of an onlooker as to Francis Galton and his relatives written 85 years ago ! When he was in his fifth year his sister Adele thought it