150 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
court, and the bedroom looks west towards the river bank, the willow tree and the lime trees of the Avenue ; there is a small slip of a gyp-room next the bedroom. The rooms were small, and, being on the ground floor and not far from the river, may have contributed to Gal ton's bad health in Cambridge. Of their internal appearance we have the rough sketch just referred to, and also a picture of the last meeting of the " Caseo-Tostic," 1843; apparently it was drawn when the New Year, 1844, was five minutes old. (See Plate LIV.) Dalyell is in the chair, before what appears to be a punch bowl, Stewart and Clark are on the sofa in front of the fire and Galton's feet only are visible-he is sitting facing Dalyell'. It is a New Year's Eve celebration. The whole is drawn hastily upon a sheet of scribbling paper which had been used on the reverse for studying geometrical optics. The picture we get of Galton throughout his college career is of a man who cared about many things, who enjoyed equally work and social life, and had not yet learnt that human powers are limited.
Three days later than the date of the " balance " letter-on February 3, Galton writes
Wednesday [Feb. 3, 1841].
MY DEAR FATHER,
Atwood2 came down this morning and breakfasted with me and I have left him in the hands of Boulton to lionise, as I am invalided from a relapse of my old
illness which came on on Saturday without any cause to which I can assign it. I am all but well, it has not confined me to my bed, but only to my room. Thanks for lecture
per post. I am rather mad about a rotatory steam engine which I have been contriving. Boulton thinks it will do. Advantages being : 111 The whole power being available
cranks being absent. 2nd The momentum of the piston increasing the effect and .'. the rapidity of working being unlimited, 3rd consequently very small cylinder, 4th no fly
wheel, 5th exceedingly light
The principle involved is similar to that of pumps now used for air and water ; the direct action of steam on a vane causes rotation of the shaft to which the vane is attached. There is an ingenious mechanism for admitting the steam first to one half and then to the other of the pressure chamber, and there are numerous sketches. Galton's claims for his rotatory engine are possibly unsound, but very little as to rotatory engines could have been done before 1840 and that little could hardly be known to Galton. The letter is evidence of Galton's
1 For reference to Dalyell see Memories, p. 78. 2 His old schoolmaster : see p. 77.