Lehrjahre and Wanderjahre 167
I do now as those with whom I have to compete read with Hopkins,-viz. Walker, Hotbam and Bowring' (Kay, and Buxton and Edwards have been obliged to leave off).
I should therefore much prefer not to go in at all, subject however, of course to your wishes. I can easily get off on the plea of ill health which will be in a considerable
degree a true one and can leave Cambridge for 5 or 6 days during the time of the examination. Should you agree with me will you let me know your plans for certain,
that I may make mine accordingly. I have no news to tell you at present, so I remain, Your affectionate Son, FRAS. GALTON.
This letter indicates much to those that read between the lines. In the first place Galton was staying up during the Easter vacation ; in the next there is little doubt that he was or had been seriously overworking. Galton could not work under pressure, he had to do his work leisurely, and this he was to learn by sad experience before it became the practice of his later life. He was so keenly excited by many things that he could not repress his instinct to carry on numerous pursuits at once. Of the relics of this Easter vacation I note a visit to Ely Cathedral and a careful sketch of its western tower (see Plate LII), sent to his father ; there is also a long poem on the birth of the Prince of Wales (Nov. 9, 1841), with the motto Tic Marcellus eris ; it is dated March 31, 1842, and was probably composed for the Chancellor's medal. The Chancellor's English medal is for a subject given out at the end of the Michaelmas Term, and exercises are to be sent in on or before March 31st following. The subject for 1842 was actually Galton's theme, and the medal was obtained by H. S. Maine, of Pembroke, one of Galton's friends and afterwards the distinguished Master of Trinity Hall.
Galton's poem has rather the roll of Erasmus Darwin's poetry and its theme the infant prince considering the deeds of his ancestors, some of whom-Edward I, and Edward II, first Prince of Wales-were as much Galton's ancestors as King Edward VII's
" How different is thy lot to Edward's son, Born in the land his sire had scarcely won,
'Midst warriors rude within that turret tall That beetles o'er Carnarvon's massive wall,
Coldly through grated loopholes streamed the day Lighting the couch where Eleanora lay."
' Walker was 8th Wrangler, Bowring 23rd Wrangler in 1844. Hotbam graduated in the same year, but, I think, must have taken a poll degree.