152 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
fever had broken out. He died at 12. He was one of the most kind-hearted fellows I ever met with ; he had just taken his degree and was going into orders and had begun hospital attendance that he might be of use in his parish. He thus caught the scarlet fever and is dead. He was a very great friend of Hughes'.
It is curious that I have as yet lost only 7 schoolfellows or fellow-collegiates that I really care for and every one of these have died of scarlet fever or typhus, and all except one within three days warning. How fearfully death intrudes in the midst of enjoyment like the skeleton at the Egyptian's feast. It is remarked by ' D'Israeli (I think) that the shock from the sudden loss of a friend is the only feeling which the mind cannot become callous to. The frequent sight of death seems in no way to diminish it. Patients in a hospital one looks upon as doomed men and their death takes place as in the natural order of things. A friend appears part of oneself, and when he dies, one contemplates the grave where he is laid in as ready to receive oneself ; we then know that we are mortal. However this kind of language is out of place to you at home in the midst of marriage festivities, etc. I received no cake with your letter !
Good bye, Yours truly,
During the Easter vacation, Francis Galton consulted both with Hodgson and Booth in Birmingham, who appear to have given diametrically opposite advice, but the nature of their proposals is not clear. They most probably concerned Francis's prolonged study of mathematics and his neglect for the time being of medicine. He writes to his father, April 8th, 1841
" I have on reconsidering, reconsulting, etc., etc., determined to abide the Trinity Examination, as I should be sure not to get the Caius prize as they have two very superior men there, and as they take up slightly different subjects-but to do my best for a Trinity first class and to -migrate afterwards "
It is impossible now to say, but probable that the " Caius prize " referred to may have been a Tancred studentship. There is a good deal of discussion later about the position in the May examination, but no further reference to this migration proposal, it probably arose from Galton's Birmingham medical sponsors urging concentration on medical studies.
Later in the same month, with the Darwin omission of exact dating, comes a characteristic letter
TRIN. COLL. April, 1841.
MY DEAR FATHER,
No letter of yours, whether received at school, announcing that I might come home a week before my time, or whether containing a cheque on Barclay, Bevan, Tritton and Co., ever came more gratefully than the one I have just received to say that