Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

Fallow Years, 1844-1849   199


Duty, however, calls on me ,to be serious. It is incumbent on me to point out the vast moral responsibility you incur, to warn you of the irretrievable disgrace in which all your friends will hold you, if when you are fairly committed to the pellucid streams and bracing atmosphere of an Egyptian river you stop short of penetrating to the Court of the Negus and reposing for awhile under the shadow of the Asylum of the Universe. If you will follow my advice you will go right ahead till you reach the Mountains of the Moon, then taking the first turning to the right continue your course until you find it necessary to ask your way; by which means you may immortalise yourself by the discovery of the great Central Sea, and by which time I hope to be able to join you there or anywhere else.

As you are anxious to have your dignity supported at foreign courts you may rely on a handsome case of brickbats with " Robert Peel " or " By Her Majesty's command," "From the East India Company, private" etc., addressed to you at every large town, postage of course not paid. Are you going before the end of next week 7 On Friday the 10th or Monday the 13th at latest I shall make my transit over the London disk, and will attempt to find you, if possible. I am sorry you never came into this part of the country as we should have been delighted by a visit. I am grown tremendously agricultural, and intend to come out strongly on the Potato disease next term. Yours most sincerely, H. T. HALLAM.


One wonders how the Egyptian and Syrian journeys would have worked out had Galton had Henry Hallam for his comrade. As it was Galton started alone. In the following memorandum we see how forty years later he described the events of those days

EGYPT, SOUDAN AND SYRIA
1845-6

F. GALTON
written from memory 1885.

After my Father's death, October 1844, finding I had a competent fortune and hating the idea of practising medicine, also being disheartened by the sense that the medical knowledge to which I had access was very lax and that its progress seemed barred-I don't do justice I know to the state of the case, but only describe my feelings fresh from the rigorous methods of proof at Cambridge-that I determined to give it up. My passion was for movement and travel and I ultimately started for the East in September (I think'), 1845. On going by diligence south from Paris, I found myself with Denham Cookes as a companion. He was charming and full of anecdote and fun ; we travelled together to Avignon, where we stayed some days and there I left him. He was killed at a steeplechase in Florence soon after. Stopped at Malta where Temple Frere was with his Uncle Hookham Frere'. On reaching Alexandria, (or was it

' From what has been said above this is probably incorrect and the middle or latter half of October more likely.

2 In his Memories, Galton regrets not having, owing to Frere's ill-health, been able to talk to the man whose Loves of the Triangles had given the "coup de grdce to the turgid poetry that had become a temporary craze in my grandfather's time" (p. 85).


Previous Index Next