Fallow Years, 1844-1849 197
Not a single letter is available, not a record of the winter 1844-5 in Park Lane ; but in the later part of 1845, the Red Gods' call reached Galton, the spring-fret was on him:l
Velvet-footed, who shall guide them to their goal l
Unto each the voice and vision : unto each his spoor and signLonely mountain in the Northland, misty sweat-bath 'neath the Line
And to each a man that knows his naked soul ! Let him go-go-go away from here !
On the other side the worlds he's overdue. 'Send your road is clear before you when the old Spring fret cones o'er you
And the Red Gods call for you !
The Red Gods called, but for Galton the road was not clear before him, not for another five years did he know his soul ! Galton's visits to Egypt and later to Syria were aimless, they were the restless visits of the well-to-do young man, seeking travel-pleasure in the routine way, without scientific object and without archaeological or linguistic knowledge. Yet there were epochs in them-as the meeting with Arnaud and the death of the faithful Ali-which influenced Galton permanently. Above all he gained two experiences-first that mere travel without aim does not give the highest pleasure, and secondly that travelling is itself an art and needs training-training in what to take and what to observe, training in how to meet and how to handle men. Think only of the Galton, the boy of 23 years, who set off to Khartoum without a map and without purpose, and who in Syria wished to sail down the Jordan on a raft based on inflated waterskins without thought of current or season of the year-think of these things, and then of the cautious preparation, the thought-out purpose of the African journey of six years later by one who after six fallow years had become a man in bearing and in power of achievement !
The young medical student of the Birmingham General Hospital and the freshman at Cambridge impress us with the power of observation and the capacity for action. The last year at Cambridge, the year in Egypt and Syria, the years to come of social life, hunting and shooting, bring before us another aspect of a many-sided nature, which had under the influence of the " spring-fret " to test many things before it knew its " naked soul." As Galton himself has said, there were
' Rudyard Kipling: "The Feet of the Young Men" in The Five Nations.