198 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
" many wild oats yet to sow." Yet in the sowing of them a transformation took place from the pleasure-seeking boy of unformed character controlled by any of many inherited tendencies, to the purposeful man seeking to extend human knowledge and with a character moulded firmly to opinions, which changed relatively little during the remainder of life. How sad it seems that all power of tracing the transformation of these fallow years has perished with the letters from and to him of this period
The account Francis Galton has provided in his Memories of the travel in Egypt and Syria was written in 1908. It is more elaborated than the few simple notes he put together in 1885, twenty-three years earlier, of the same journeyings. In Chapter VI of the Memories Galton gives no date to his departure for Egypt. In the account of 1885, he states that he " started for the East in September (I think) 1845." But there is in existence a playful letter from his friend Henry Hallam, dated Wraxall Lodge, Thursday, October 3rd, without year. The contents of this letter seem to indicate that Galton had asked Hallam to accompany him to Egypt, and if this be so, Galton did not start till somewhere near the anniversary of his father's death', and thus we have lost the record of one whole year of his life. The letter from Hallam runs
MY DEAR GALTON,-I have been deliberating since I received your letter on the desirability of joining you, and though finally overcome by the prospect of minor and highly conventional difficulties relating to degrees and other matters equally con
temptible, I envy you exceedingly. The pleasure of shooting at so large a mark as a hippopotamus of respectable size is peculiarly attractive to the mind of the infant sportsman, who like myself has been vainly endeavouring to rid creation of an orthodox
number of partridges during the last month. I trust, however, that the terror of my arms is beginning to be spread in the neighbourhood, as I have been given to understand that a number of highly respectable pheasants, the fathers of families whose
custom it has been for many years to insure their lives on the first of October have this year been either totally refused or accepted only on the payment of such an extravagant sum by their respective offices as must obviously have reference to the introduction of
some new element into the sporting world to which it would be indelicate in me to refer more closely. Still, as I said, I gasp after the blood of Pachydermata, and under proper encouragement would direct my artillery with great hope of success against any
inoffensive animal of large size, and easily vulnerable whom I might find sitting on the banks ' of the Nile.
1 It may be doubted whether the legal business of winding up an estate like that of Tertius Galton could be 'completed much under a year.