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172   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

only surviving son of "Middle Ages") among our members and spout away most learnedly once a week on subjects in the ethical line. There are 9 of us altogether and I shall be president next week and shall array myself in Stultz for the occasion. We keep it very secret and meet in each others' rooms in rotation under the pretext of a wine party; then the man who gives the spread is president and at -j before 5 sports his door and the debate begins. The president of one meeting has to propose a subject and open the debate on it in the meeting a week after. Mr Hodgson sent me my certificate for degrading the day before yesterday. I will let you know how the proceedings about it progress in my next letter. I have invested in such a jolly second-hand arm chair. I really believe it is the most comfortable in Cambridge, it cost £3. 10s.; the seat is only 10 inches from the ground so it is thoroughly luxurious. [Sketch of said chair.] How is Capt. B-, wedded or single? By the way one can imagine the following scene

Scene. Interior of a church, marriage procession, bridesmaids, etc., rather an elderly bride and bridegroom.

Priest. Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband? Bride. Not a doubt about it.

How are the various family ailments? Does Mater find bannocks lie very lightly on the stomach? Thank you for taking care of the papers; there were some books also that I left, Guizot's Civilisation, etc., and there are some at Claverdon. Now if Mater had such a redundancy of preserves and jams from the garden that she was really obliged to manage with them as she used to with the cats of old, viz. give sixpence to whomsoever would take them, then the strength of my filial affection would rejoice at the opportunity of being useful and of taking 2 or 3 pots out of her way. And should all this be the case it would be worth while to put them with the books in a box and send them at once to Cambridge, where they would be severally eaten and read.

I am learning singing after the Hullah fashion, but alas notwithstanding maternal prophesies I find the Galton ear is as slightly developed inside my skull as it is largely on the outside, and although I keep up the credit of the family failing, yet I am afraid I shall not at the same time qualify for the professorship of music.

I read with no tutor at all at present, as I question the advantages of doing so, but shall attend the University lectures on mechanics by Willis, which begin on the 10th.

Theodore is reading hard for his degree which comes off in about 10 weeks. Goodbye and believe me, Your affectionate son,


The next letter does not tell us whether Galton has given up the idea of degrading, but it shows that there was little hope of any immediate improvement in his health.

[circa November 28, 1842.]


Thank you much for your and Bessy's letter which last I received yesterday. I am quite ashamed at not having written oftener but my head generally is not as well

club, established to encourage a more philosophical habit in style, argument, and choice of subjects, than was in vogue in the somewhat promiscuous theatre of the Union." Galton's letter of Nov. 2 and that of Feb. 17 of the following year seem to indicate that Hallam, although possibly an early member, was not the virtual founder of the "Historical."

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