Transition Studies 7
watchers against smugglers. With the Basque districts of Spain Galton was delighted. He writes
. "Every act of the people was original-their gait, their implements, their way of setting to work. I looked into many shops-such as tinkers', blacksmiths', potters', and so forth-and came to the conclusion, speaking very broadly, that if any of their patterns were introduced into England, or that if any of ours were made to replac$ theirs, the change would involve decided incongruity, and lead to questionable improvement. Another subject which struck me at once, and with which up to the last moment of my stay in Spain, I became no less charmed, was the graceful, supple and decorous movement of every Spanish woman'. It was a constant pleasure to me to watch their walk, their dress, and their manner, as it is a constant jar to all my notions of beauty to see the vulgar gait, ugly outlines, mean faces, bad millinery and ill-assorted colours of the vast majority of the female population that one passes in an English thoroughfare."
Galton contrasts the peasantry, especially the Basque peasantry of Spain, with the inferiority of physique, manner and address of the upper classes of Madrid society, and with conditions in England, where he tells us that "the higher classes, speaking generally, have the higher make of body and mind and by far the nobler social tone." But the peasantry in almost every land, if it has been long on the soil, appears to the visitor harmonious and even beautiful-think only of the Italian, the Austrian, the upland Baden and the Norwegian tillers of the earth, each admirable in their own way and each suited by centuries of selection to their own environment.. The grace of an autochthonous peasantry, the suitability of their dwellings to their climate, of their clothing to their habits, and their artefacts to their domestic and agricultural needs, impresses us in the same way as the grace of a wild animal, adapted in every instinct and habitude to its native haunts, impresses us if we observe it unawares in its own surroundings.
The reader of Galton's paper will realise how he was beginning in 1860 to turn his thoughts more to man, and this also may be read between the lines of the account he gives of the public baby-dandle in Logrofio
"In the afternoon, the military were paraded, and the bands played in the square. Of course all the spare population went to see them; but what amused us especially, was the part taken by the nurses and the children, both here and at Vittoria. They came in hundreds, scattered among the crowd. The instant the music began, every nurse elevated her charge, sitting on her hand, at half-arm's length into the air, and they all kept time to the music by tossing the babies in unison, and slowly rotating them, in azimuth (to speak astronomically) at each successive toss. The babies looked passive and rather bored, but the energy and enthusiasm of the nurses was glorious. At each great bang of the drummers a vast flight of babies was simultaneously projected to the utmost arms' length. It was ludicrous beyond expression." (V.7'. 1860, p. 436.)
Another feature of this travel paper is Galton's increased, interest in meteorology and generally in climate. There is even a touch of it in his description of the corona during the eclipse; he is inclined to treat the
Arctic travellers, sleeping bags had not up to that date been used by Alpine climbers, and Galton at a dinner of the English Alpine Club was toasted as the greatest 'bagman' in Europe.
Memories, p. 190.
' In a letter to his mother (July 19, 1860) Galton-writes: "I cannot tell you bow I enjoy Spain. The people are so civil and nice and clean. Italy won't bear comparison on the score of cleanliness with Spain. Everybody is happy and graceful and well-to-do." This letter contains an account of the eclipse and a rather brilliant pen and ink drawing of the corona.