166 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
but quite unsuccessfully. I could not see one although with another man I patrolled every imaginable ditch within reach. I firmly believe St Patrick had got the start of me, for Cambridge without frogs is quite an anomaly. Hopkins gave up for the term on Wednesday ; before he left he called me to him and complimented me no end on my mechanics, which has made me quite jolly. I wish though that I were a better analyst. Buxton and Kay are going to leave his class as their health won't stand it. I shall certainly stay with him during the Long Vacation, and if the Dons won't let me stay in Cambridge I propose quietly taking lodgings in Grancester [sic!] (11 miles off) and coming over to him every morning. For want of room Good bye and believe me ever
Your affectionate Son,
(It's vacation time now.)
But how was Francis Galton's own health standing the strain is the question which arises in our minds, as we read this letter? A letter written a few days later shows that the strain was beginning to tell':
TRINITY, Tuesday [March 22, 1842].
MY DEAR FATHER,
On thinking over about the approaching Scholarship Examination, I so plainly see that I have no chance whatever of getting one this year that I really think it quite useless to compete. The mere going into an examination for a few days is a thing of no great labour, but I am of course anxious that if examined I should do the mathematical part as well as I am qualified to, and not place myself below my level for want of preparation as would be the case with me now. I have at present read 14 different mathematical subjects'; now to get up all these sufficiently well to undergo a good examination in them would necessarily require very considerable application, which would be better bestowed on the subject (Mechanics) that I have now in hand, inasmuch as the fact of having them now well prepared would in no way assist me in any future examination, after- a year's interval for instance. I spoke to Hopkins about it a fortnight ago; he strongly recommends me not to put myself out of the way for the examination, should I be inclined to go in for it. I find that it is impossible to get up my subjects without doing so and therefore think it preferable not to go in at all. I would, however, have possibly tried my best, but my head is already rather bad from having overworked myself in attempting to get up these subjects as well as doing what Hopkins has set us for this vacation, so that in the short time that is left I could do but very little. There is one other reason remaining namely that I should not know my standing in Maths. in the College from the result of this examination any better than
1 In a postscript Galton says : "The subjects I have read are : (1) Algebra Parts I and III (2) Algebra Part II (3) Euclid (4) Trigonometry, Plane (5) Spherical (6) Conic Sections (7) Theory of Equations (8) Newton (9) Differential Calculus (10) Integral Calculus (11) Differential Equations (12) Statics (13) Dynamics (not finished) (14) Geometry of 3 Dimensions."-Astronomy and Optics (of which he had certainly read some) were needed to complete the old two years' course, leaving the physical subjects for the third year.