232 Life and Letters of -Francis Galton
milliners so vainly attempt to imitate. They are so, it is a fact, Darwin. I have seen figures that would drive the females of our native land desperate-figures that could afford to scoff at Crinoline, nay more, as a scientific man and as a lover of the beautiful I have dexterously even without the knowledge of the parties concerned, resorted to actual measurement. Had I been a proficient in the language, I should have advanced, and bowed and smiled like Goldney, I should have explained the dress of the ladies of our country, I should have said that the earth was ransacked for iron to afford steel springs, that the seas were fished with consummate daring to obtain whalebone, that far distant lands were overrun to possess ourselves of caoutchouc-that these three products were ingeniously wrought by competing artists, to the utmost perfection, that their handiwork was displayed in every street corner and advertised in every periodical but that on the other hand, that great as is European skill, yet it was nothing before the handiwork of a bounteous nature. Here I should have blushed bowed and smiled again, handed the tape and requested them to make themselves the necessary measurement as I stood by and registered the inches or rather yards. This however I could not do-there were none but Missionaries near to- interpret for me, they would never have entered into my feelings and therefore to them I did not apply-but I sat at a distance with my sextant, and as the ladies turned themselves about, as women always do, to be admired, I surveyed them in every way and subsequently measured the distance of the spot where they stood-worked out and tabulated the results at my leisure. I have been measuring other things all the time I have been here, for I have been working hard to make a good map of the country and am quite pleased with my success. I can now calculate upon getting the latitude of any place, on a clear night to three hundred yards. I have fortunately got very good instruments and have made simple stands to mount them upon, so that I can in a few minutes set up quite a little observatory. My little tent has been of great use in making excursions with ride and pack oxen. It is perfectly waterproof and is still as good as new. My establishment now consists of 9 white or whitish people, including myself and two blacks but they are men who have lived with Whites all their lives and about 10 natives-86 Oxen and 30 small cattle, and some 6 or 7 dogs; together with two waggons. We start onwards the day after tomorrow. Now we are at the furthest point Whites have ever reached and we steer about N.W. to a lake we have heard of about 200 miles off. I shall then make a short tour and return here to keep the Namaquas in order. I want to explore this country thoroughly. It is a very important one for future commerce, and I should prefer exploring it well, rather than quickly going over a long line of country. I have learnt a great deal about the place and people and all that, but it is a long story about which you could feel little interest and therefore I spare you the history. We live on nothing but meat and coffee-and it suits us all admirably, there is quite enough to do to keep us from being dull-though I certainly should like to be dropped for a week in civilized society and then be taken back again I of course have heard nothing from Home since I left it.Give my best love to everybody and `believe me Ever affectly. yrs. FRANK GALTON.
If I get smashed I have told Andersson he may take all my things in Africa, and also that the wages of the men, which are £17. 15. 0. a month shall be continued for three months beyond the time that is reasonably necessary for the expedition to reach Cape Town. I have given him and also sent my Bankers a paper about it.