94 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
only 94°-. Are you aware that when the temperature of the air exceeds that of blood heat it is apt to be trying?,' (I could quite believe it !) By and bye he asked me whether it would not be pleasant to wash our face and hands? I certainly thought so, but did
not see how it was to be done. Then, with perfect simplicity and sublime disregard of appearances and of the astounded looks of the other occupants of our compartment, a very much 'got-up' Frenchman and two fashionably dressed Frenchwomen, he
proceeded to twist his newspaper into the shape of a washhand basin, produced an infinitesimally small bit of soap, and poured some water out of a medicine-bottle, and we performed our ablutions. I fear I was too self-conscious to enjoy the proceedings, but it never seemed to occur to him that he was doing anything unusual ! "
It needed African travel to enable Francis Galton to throw off a certain self-consciousness ; I have heard acquaintances, who knew perhaps little of his true simplicity and his width of toleration when intellectual values were under consideration, speak of him as conventional. He belonged, indeed, to an old-fashioned school, which liked good manners, which preferred its women to be pretty and dress gracefully, and which appreciated without worshipping the conveniences of wealth. But these conventional things were for him but grease to the wheels of life, to be put aside, whenever they interfered with the greater aims of existence. He might not have found it as easy as W. Kingdon Clifford did, to call in at the butcher's and walk home with a leg of 'mutton under his arm, but assuredly if "Universe" were to be solved on the homeward walk, he would have kept Clifford company regardless of the joint. Francis Galton's conventionality in boyhood and youth was largely shyness and self-consciousness-in manhood it was a traditional courtliness not without its protective advantages, and wholly disappearing before the warmth of his affection, when acquaintance had ripened into intimate friendship.
Our youthful travellers voyaged down the Thames and across to Antwerp; thence to Brussels, Mechlin and Liege (see Plate XLIX). Many of the letters to his father Tertius tell us of the usual travellers' sights, the churches, the pictures and museums, but occasionally we pass to things more suggestive, as the ornithological and geological collections at Brussels, and then to the first pleasures of the Rhine, and of the strangeness of foreign life.
" I really am quite full of obligations to you for letting me take this trip. I have been as happy as possible. You must excuse my writing longer letters, as after being out all day, coming into the coffee-room tired, you are stupefied with baccy smoke puffed out of the mouths of some 60 people. Then writing a long journal, it is rather tiring."