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Childhood and Boyhood   - 69


To Bessy, my Minerals and Shells-To Lucy my Hygrometer and Desk-To Emma my Medals-To Darwin all my parchment and my share in Aab and Poss [-I ponies]-To Erasmus my Bow, Arrows and Steel Pens-To Edward Levett Darwin' [his cousin, son of Sir Francis Darwin] my Skates and latin and greek Books-I make my dearest sister Adele my Executrix.

Signed, sealed and delivered by the within named

Francis Gklton on the 14th day of February FRANCIS GALTON. One thousand eight hundred and thirty

Witness S. TERTIUs GALTON   VIOLETTA GALTON.

Francis Galton himself feared that the educational efforts of his sister Adele might have had a disastrous influence


"In middle life," he writes in his Memories, p. 14, "I feared that I had been an intolerable prig, and cross-questioned many old family friends about it, but was invariably assured that I was not at all a prig but seemed to ` spout' for pure enjoyment and without any affectation ; that I often quoted very aptly on the spur of the moment, and that I was a nice little child."

As a rule the presence of elder brothers and sisters, ready to do a little hustling and teasing when occasion requires, suffices in most cases to check any priggishness in the youngest member of a family. But there is another point from which the matter may be judged. Galton suffered in later years from occasional mental weariness, the effect of over-strain, and there is just a sad note in an answer his mother has preserved for us, given to his father who had been examining, him in arithmetic when he was five years of age. Asked if he was not tired, he replied : " I am not tired of the thing, but of myself." It is possible that with an ambitious, mentally active boy2, such _ as Galton undoubtedly was-a boy who' was easily ahead of his compeers in his first two schools-a little holding back would have been the more judicious course. There is a plaintive note too, with perhaps a deeper meaning

' Edward Darwin went to school with Francis at Mrs French's.

2 When four years old Francis was observed to be very careful of every penny that he received, and upon being questioned what he was saving for replied : " Why, to buy honours at the University." He once also told his father on being asked what he would like most : "Why, University honours to be sure." The influence at fork is not clear, the Galtons themselves did not spring from academically minded stack, and the University careers of his uncles Charles and Robert Waring Darwin were of the distant past. His cousin Charles had not yet gone to Cambridge.


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