Childhood and Boyhood 67 desirable, as he had no children to play with at home, that he should go to school. He was accordingly placed under the care of a Mrs French
who kept a school for 25 little boys about a mile from the Larches'. Here Francis distinguished himself from the beginning by being headboy, although there were many several years older than himself. He remained at this school for three years, until he was eight years of age, and in the last half-year had daily private instruction from the Rev. Mr Clay, master at the Birmingham Free School. The good dame at the head of his school reported very highly of little Francis, and once added, " the young Gentleman is always found studying the abstruse sciences." This was probably a protest on his part against the over emphasis of Latin in small boys' education-a matter on which Galton wrote very strongly later (see p. 88). When he left this dame's school at 82 years of age, he had read and learnt the following books : Eton Latin Grammar, Delectus, Eutropius, Phaedrus' Fables, Ovid's Metamorphoses as far as the Medusa incident, and threequarters of Ovid's Epistles.
His mother, writing indeed of her Benjamin, in 1830, when he was
leaving Mrs French's school, says
"Francis from his earliest age shewed highly honorable feelings. His temper, although hasty, bore no resentment and his little irritations were soon calmed'. His open candid disposition with great good nature and kindness to those boys younger than himself, made him beloved by all his schoolfellows. He was very affectionate and even sentimental in his manners. His activity of body could only be equalled by the activity of his mind. He was a boy never known to be idle. His habit was always to be doing something. He showed no vanity at his superiority over other boys, but pitied them, and said it was a shame their education should have been so neglected'."
1 The school was at Balsall Heath House, and four communications to Tertius Galton from his son have survived-a rough drawing of a suspension bridge with a ship passing under it, a more tidy drawing of a wooden shed or house, and a neat little painting of decorative sweet peas, and lastly a dated letter, June 1st, 1830, stating that the holidays would commence on the 19th, that he thought he had much improved in his Latin and Greek with Mr Clay : "I shall soon be in Greek Delectus and Sense verses, for you know that I -have nearly done with Nonsense verses."
' His mother once said to him at a somewhat later age : ,Francis, how can you keep your temper as you do I" "I don't," he answered, "but I've found out a capital plan. I go to my room as soon as I can get away, and I beat and kick my pillow till I'm tired out, and by the time I've finished, my temper's all gone." He continued metaphorically " to beat his pillow " under great provocations in later life.
s This is aptly illustrated by his great concern on going to Mrs French's because he thought that his mother would not let him remain at that school-the boys were so commonplace they had never heard of the Iliad or Mar-mion !