Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

138   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

"Aug. 26. Set off from Constantinople in the Crescent at 4 p.m. Italian captain, English mate. One English gentleman, 4 ditto Ladies ; French, Greeks, etc. and innumerable Turks, lying about, men and women, smoking and drinking coffee. They are a great nuisance ; the clear space on the quarter deck is not 18 inches broad and the consequence is that when the ship rolls you are almost sure to tumble over their feet, right into the middle of them, and as they are mostly women, such a position is very indelicate, and as they are all sea sick highly disagreeable also. Very rainy on setting out ; it was soon dark. Entered the Dardanelles at 8 next morning.

"August 27   Came to the place where Troy was, thoroughly disappointed. There is no truth in the proverb ` Ex nihilo, nihil fit,' for Homer has shown its fallacy. He must have had a brilliant imagination to make a little bit of plain 2 miles long and 1 mile broad the scene of all the manoeuvres of a ten years' war. The idea too of fighting ten years for a woman ! Catch me doing such a thing for the fair Mary Anne, but the days of gallantry have passed. Achilles' tomb, a little hillock ; as for Tenedos opposite which the Greek toiled a couple of days to reach, I would bet anything that I could row over in 40 minutes (supposing the marsh on which Troy stood to have been increased by alluvial deposit, still Mount Ida and the rocks of Tenedos are necessarily stationary and so there cannot be much mistake about relative distances). Tenedos is rocky and barren, has a large stone fortress built on it. Mytelene rocky and barren also; if it used to be in the same state Orpheus must have been a dab hand to find

beasts to charm with his lyre. Anchored off Smyrna at 11 p.m   "

In Smyrna Galton bought two pistols and a rifle barrel and he was " as happy as possible" with his purchase. On August 28 he walked out to the Aqueduct, practising shooting with his pistol and sketching the Aqueduct.

"Caught a splendid locust which I keep for Delly; got to the Aqueduct at last having had previously to walk up the middle of the stream on natural stepping stones for about 200 yards and trespassing in orchards innumerable. The Aqueduct is a very large one, I should guess 500 yards and only from 3 to 5 feet wide. I walked on the top from one side to the other, a feat which my-valet de place bad told me had been once accomplished at great peril by an adventurous Englishman   

"Aug. 29. Set off on board a French man of war steamer Dante for Syra; very large and roomy, very slow sailer. Eat a fearfully large breakfast of meat and fruits, drowsiness and some symptoms of multigrub supervened. Passed Scio, rocky and bare. Eat an enormous dinner, terrible cholera, stomach-ache and nausea all night."

On Sept. 3 we find Galton in the Quarantine House at Syra, of which he provides a sketch. Here on the 6th he records a dream of ill omen to a friend, Miss Hawke, and adds, " I can't help fancying this true." A note is added at a later date, " which signified nothing." Most persons record such dreams after the event and only when they come off. In this Quarantine House Galton stayed 10 days, then he passed to Athens with a brief visit and so to quarantine at Trieste.

Previous Index Next