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148   Life and Letters of Francis Galton


asleep again, but was awoke at 62 by a cracked dinner bell in hysterics, when the farming men go to their work. Got up and the small boy afore-mentioned brought me a pair of shoes [sketch] with nails at the bottom like the teeth of the cog wheel attached to the fly of a 10-horse steam engine; this I found was truly necessary to Somersetshire walking. I am in a great hurry, will finish to-morrow-but must say that Rassy and Delly were most kind. I enjoyed my visit greatly. Rassy works hard at his farm and evidently takes the greatest interest in it. I went to Bath to call upon my earliest flame Douglas Hunter'. I have no time to write more. How is Charlotte?

FRAS. GALTON.

Another letter of nearly the same date describes the lamp and lock attempts

MY DEAR FATHER,

Lamp and lock both dished but have come off honorably in both. Capt. Basil Hall, aided by Wheatstone had hit upon the same idea a short time since, and has since been making experiments. The light appears not advantageous as regards illuminating rooms, though it is useful for lighthouses. As regards my lock, Bramah complimented it and spoke very sensibly about it, he said it was certainly much more difficult to pick than any one of the same size and of a different construction, but the chances were quite great enough for security against a chance key in either the Bramah or Chub, the only thing to be feared was a model being taken of the original key when accidentally left about. Now mine being merely a piece of bent wire could be imitated from the impression left on almost any substance, or traced on paper-whilst his (here he grew coxy) required a very careful modeller and much time to imitate-my lock would also be expensive. This was very true, and I quite agree with him ; but as regards the security of his lock when the key had been left in the hands of a pickpocket, I offered to make a false key in 5 minutes, if he would leave the original key in my hands for 5 seconds. He of course stood up in defence of his own key, so I got 10 knitting pins 5 large and 5 small and one wooden one which was central, the others surrounding it. On passing the central one down the bore of the key, the other ones were variously depressed according to the teeth in the key, as in the drawing, the other end B of course exactly represents the key (A) ; the ward (C) is always the same distance from the end' and could therefore be fixed to one of the pins. Knitting pins are of course clumsy, but with a little contrivance a perfect picklock can be made (the breadth of the slits is of no consequence only the depth). Bramab was very fierce, I told him that I had some intention of patenting the picklock, and advertising " Important to Thieves, Housebreakers and others." I enclose a model of one of his show locks by five pins. Bramah who was called down to see my knitting pins looked angry.

FRAS. GALTON.

On Jan. 31 Galton is back at Trinity and writes home as follows

MY DEAR FATHER,

Thanks for letter. Lectures begin tomorrow (Monday) Poor H   !, Charlotte's cousin, was unable to stand the examination more than 3 days on account of

1 Another letter describes this visit with Galton's usual flow of satirical humour, but concludes with the P.S. "Douglas is a very nice girl."


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