112 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
Francis is undoubtedly growing into a bit of a beau, although he makes fun of his needs throughout. The letter concludes with his accounts, the terrible tailor, "washing bill (not salts)," "medicine, a fearful quantity for indigestion, boils, carbuncle etc." 9S., " Luncheon and Dinner " 6s., " Head and Neck " 8s. 9c1., etc. To those who study the development of human character it is of extraordinary interest to watch the cross currents working at this time in the young man's mind. There is the social current with the love of country pursuits which had dominated several of Francis' near relatives and collaterals ; there is the observing " clinical " inclination, which had carried other relatives and collaterals into medicine and natural science, and then there is the love of mathematics and physics, which was again to manifest itself in other kinsmen. I doubt whether anyone watching the youth closely or reading his letters of those days would have been able to predict whether Francis Galton would end as a social leader, a country gentleman, a doyen of the medical faculty, or a noteworthy man of science. Tastes inherited from Beau Colyear, Erasmus Darwin, and Samuel Galton-wit and literary instinct, scientific imagination, power of organisation, with not a little Barclay tenacity were fermenting in a youthful mind, and none could have foretold with which victory would remain, or how they would ultimately be balanced. Examine Francis Galton's letters in these Lehrjahre superficially, and they amuse as their humour and boyish freshness necessitate. But behind this, those who can read between the lines will find a most instructive study in character -development, one in which we seem to see not environment but innate tendencies contesting for mastership, and the environment itself is changed as each reaches control. None but the most careless reader could deny that the mind was seeking and making its environment, and not the environment moulding the mind.
When Francis Galton got back to Spring Gardens after the Christmas vacation we find one of his rare letters to his mother
Jan. 6th, Monday .
MY DEAR MOTHER,
I have been a wise person, that I have! Run away with Darwin's Dress Coat and left my own. Please send me mine by return of coach as in case of a party I have nothing to wear. I am full of contrition, etc., etc.
Now as I am writing I may as well tell you how I got here. As I got into the Coventry and Leamington Omnibus I saw at the other end a pair of thundering