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12   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

of Galton's friends-Darwin, Grove, Hooker, Brodrick, Spencer, Spottiswoode', etc.; the dark back room with its shelves loaded with pamphlet cases filled with letters and manuscripts, the boxes of models, and the notes of a long lifetime of collecting, mostly indexed by Galton himself, all these will be familiar memories to his friends, and formed a singularly unique environment, very characteristic of the man. A great reference library, one of the principal rooms of the house devoted to a study, reproductions of modern or medieval .art, these were not essential needs of Galton's nature. Among his books were no long series of foreign journals or transactions, and but few fundamental treatises on anthropology or natural history. His library consisted chiefly of books which their writers presented to him-such as Darwin's worksor of ofl'prints and papers sent to Galton when his name had become known. There are scarcely two dozen books in Galton's library as we now have it, which we can assert he must have purchased to forward his work. There are masses of measurements and observations of Galton's own, but unlike Darwin he did not start by analysing published material. He collected afresh either directly or through others and formed his conclusions de novo: I do not think he ever studied Laplace or Poisson; I am confident that he had never considered the original papers of Gauss; even while Galton's work seems to flow naturally from that of Quetelet2, I am very doubtful how far he owed much to a close reading of the great Belgian statistician. He formed no collection of his books, and the few references to Quetelet in Galton's writings are such as might easily arise from indirect sources. Galton took up his problems one after another and worked at them largely disregarding their past history, when indeed they had one. This is only

.possible in a man of great insight and brimming over with suggestive ideas and novel processes. But the method has some drawbacks, when adopted by lesser men, and even, as in his above-cited account of his observations on the Corona, we may find it open to criticism in Galton himself. But unless my readers grasp this characteristic of Galton's nature they will fail to understand how, with all his travel and the social and executive calls on his time, he was yet able to accomplish so much. It is dangerous advice to give to every scientific worker, but it is the only useful advice to give to a young man of genius: Find a little trodden path, and explore it rapidly alone, without regard to the work of others; many precious hours will be wasted if yon follow up the spoor of each one who has passed athwart your path before. Galton took some time to find his individual track, but having found it, he went ahead without much regard to forerunners or even to those working on parallel lines. It was this individuality of method which impressed itself on his environment and rendered him so independent of the usual appurtenances of the scholar. He thought and he worked with the simplest of tools, and these mostly of his own making.

' Hung at the present time on the walls of the Committee Room in the Galton Laboratory. The family portr%its which hung in the drawing-room and Galton's bedroom may still be seen on our walls, and even the quaint stunted cupboard wardrobe from Galton's dressing-room now serves as a store for mechanical calculators--a use which would-have delighted his heart!

2 In a card index prepared by Galton himself to his books and pamphlets the name of Quetelet does not appear.   W