Lehrjahre and Wanderjahre 143
The following letters provide a more intimate picture of Galton's life at college
MY DEAR FATHER,
I did not write before, as I wished to hear whether Mr O'Brien' would have me or not, before sending my letter. However I have just learnt that he will and I begin with him on Monday next ; he recommends me not to go over with him now my old subjects, but to start off and read as I can of Differentials and their application to Statics and Dynamics, and after this term to read over again what I have done against my first examination in May by which I am classed. Thanks for your letter received 2 days since. Port wine not arrived. The communication between the intellectual nucleus of Cambridge and the Boeotian town of Leamington is excessively tardy. I really think that our present economising Government must have made a contract with the carrier for the transmission of the mail-bag, as, if the postmaster at Warwick was not seized with an apoplexy and thereby occasioned a delay, your letters take 3 days to get here. Yesterday I had a letter directed to you in my mother's handwriting (the enclosed letter) sent me which must have slept on the road many days. I for a wager any day would undertake to be on the top of the Drachenfels by Bonn before a letter put in the post at Cambridge at midday, would reach Leamington. I Waste paper fearfully, i.e. scribble over both sides of it innumerable x, y's and funny looking triangles. Mrs Hoppit says that : "It's a great comfort to her to have a reading gentleman, because there is then always plenty of stuff to light the fires with." Theodore looks blooming, he hangs up pictures of Cerito2 in his rooms and talks of the O-pey-ra. I tea with Boulton tonight ; he is not much altered, but very shy. Talking of tea, please send me some soon, as there are many sloe leaves in the Cambridge. I have proved this by microscopical observation. H- is very goodnatured and has introduced me to some nice men ; he was officious at first, wanting I think to make me as dependent on him as Z. is, but there was then a difference of opinion between us, and now we are great allies.
. Good bye, your affectionate son, FRAS. GALTON.
The letter is followed by the usual accounts, which this time include most of a freshman's needs-cap and gown, ironmongery, crockery, linen, etc. There are also a few lines on a little strip of paper somewhat characteristic of the man and rather hard on his father. Leonard Horner had clearly written to Tertius Galton praising the character of his son Francis-how we should like that letter now !-and Tertius had forwarded it to Cambridge. " Now I don't like being soaped ; in that letter there were 3 words or so on the subject of introductions ; why
Oct. 23rd, 1840,
' O'Brien was 3rd Wrangler in 1838 and afterwards Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Military Academy. He has given his name to one or two mathematical demonstrations.
Y See The Ingoldsby Legends, "A Row in an Omnibus (Box)."