Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

144   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

not copy them then ? If I do not as yet like blarney, why try to make me fond of it by large doses? "

The next letter is endorsed by Tertius Galton, Nov. 3, 1840

MY DEAR FATHER,

I should have sent a letter to you yesterday if it had not been that the one that I had written was spoilt by an accident in my Gumption-Reviver machine which covered it with water. This machine as it has perhaps come into use since your time' I will describe to you.

[Sketch of the Gumption-Reviver machine : a student sits reading at a table, elbows on table and hands support head, lamp in front to right ; funnel dripping water which runs off a cloth bound round head to left. Additional sketches of gallows to carry funnel and of method of arranging cloth.]

"A large funnel is supported on a double stand about 6 ft. high, it has a graduated stopcock at the bottom by which the size of the aperture can be regulated. This as you read is placed above your head and filled with water. Round the head a napkin is tied, dependent on one side where the bow and end is so [arranged] that the water may drop off. Now it is calculated that as the number of hours of study increases in an arithmetic ratio, so will the weariness consequent on it increase in a geometrical ratio, and the stream of water must in that ratio be increased. The geometric ratio used in the 1st year, i.e. for freshmen is 2, in the 2nd year 3 and in the term before taking the degree 5. At that time the gyp has to call every quarter of an hour to refill the funnel ; the clothes are then also not protected as damp shirts do not invite repose. We generally begin to use this machine about 10 at night and continue it till 1 or 2 ; it is very useful. My private tutor recommended it to me as the first thing; it is in fact quite indispensable to a high wrangler. I have received wine, spoons and tea, for all of which thank you. So Fanny Broadley is going to be spliced-I congratulate her heartily. Mr Burrows may think himself uncommonly lucky, for I think she was the prettiest girl I almost ever saw.

" You mention the case of Mr H of Catherine Hall. I hear that he had worked himself almost to madness, but was quite unable to succeed on account of his natural powers; poor fellow he did the best thing that lie could do though. As to who were plucked nobody knows except the pluckers and the plucked ; it is done very quietly. I have been reading very hard and am accordingly very dull. On going to O'Brien my private tutor (a 3rd Wrangler) he set me about Conic Sections, which I had not read before. He opened the book from which I was to learn them (Boucharlat LV pages close print') and asked me with a sort of grin if I could get it up by the next lesson in 2~ days. I took it in earnest and did get it up, but I verily believe that I never worked so hard before. I got up the bookwork pretty well, but I own that I was not able to

' These words seem to confirm the view that Tertius Galton actually went,up to Trinity : see the first footnote, p. 52.

' Boucharlat, J. L.: Theorie des courbes et des surfaces du second ordre.... 2' ed. Paris, 1810.


Previous Index Next