218 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
LAT. 16 N., LONG. 20 W. May 9th, 1850.
DEAREST MOTHER, As there is a chance of our shortly meeting some ship homeward bound I write a few lines. I never enjoyed myself much more than I have done. Glorious weather, and to my unmitigated astonishment I find that a ship is not always in this position [sketch of a three-master going bow first down the flank of a wave of 30°] or in this [same three-master going up the front of a wave of 45°]. The fact is that a large ship like the one I am in hardly moves at all except in very bad weather and the sea scarcely ever washes over her. At starting we had very bad weather and were about 10 days in the Bay of Biscay. A poor girl, a passenger, a clergyman's daughter, who was going out to settle with her brother at the Cape caught a severe inflammation of the lungs and died there. Our passengers make a very amusing party, and the time passes as pleasantly as can be. I am quite a good hand at taking observations' and have learnt about 600 Sichuana words' (the language I shall have to speak). Andersson is a very good fellow. I keep him in excellent order. He rammed a harpoon almost through his hand the other day, but he is a sort of fellow that couldn't come to harm. He had an old gun burst whilst firing it last week and only shook himself and all was right. I don't know if I told you that I called on his aunt just before starting. She knew Adele at Swansea. Miss Elizabeth Lloyd tea-ed with her there. We passed under the sun the day before yesterday. It's not a bit hot. Thermometer has never been more than 80° in the shade. I should like yachting, I think, and I should go to Teneriffe and then the Verde Islands, doing Lisbon on the way; they looked so uncommonly pretty. Teneriffe would not be on an average 19 days from England. Suggest it to Darwin, if he is seized with a mania that way this spring. I was only sick three days.
May 10. Lat. 9J N., Long. 24 W. There is a sail just reported ahead, and they are bellowing out to get ready and board her. It's very odd how few ships one sees, this is only the first homeward bound we -have yet come across; however the tracks outward and homeward are different on account of the winds. The emigrants are rather fun than otherwise. I.d introduced the game of bob-cherry for the boys and every evening we filled our pockets full of things at dessert and fish away. We have made them sing together, etc., etc., but on the whole they are an uninteresting set of cubs. I have got to polish up to go on board, as I have been in slippers and a leather coat for the last fortnight. So good bye, and with love to all at Edstone3, Smitterfield4, and Adele.Ever affectionately, FRANK G. Tell Emma that I am working hard at drawing.
The latitudes suggest the "Dalhousie " was off the Gold Coast and had not yet passed the line.
' The advantages of a sailing ship over a modern steamer for a traveller of those days will be obvious.
' Several pages of the diary contain long lists of words.
3 The home for a time of Darwin Galton, who had married Mary Elizabeth, eldest
daughter and coheiress of John Phillips, Esq., of Edstone. 4 The home for a time of sister Bessy, Mrs Wheler.