238 Life and Letters-of Francis Galton But about his Alma Mater lie wrote:
HOTEL DES AfiGLAIS, VALESCURE, PRES ST RAPHAEL (VAR), FRANCE. Nov. 16, 1902.
DEAREST EMMA, Your letter has just come with the 2 extracts. Thank you much; I was sure that you and Bessy and Erasmus would all be glad to hear of the Darwin Medal. But there is even more to tell, of even yet more value to myself. They have elected me Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, which is a rare distinction for a man who has not been previously an ordinary fellow, or who is not a professor resident in Cambridge. The beautifully conceived and worded letter of Montagu Butler, the Master of Trinity, of which Eva has made a copy for you to keep, will explain much of this. Mr Balfour was, I think, a fellow, anyhow he was one of the most brilliant men of his year. Sir W. Harcourt and Lord Macnaghten were fellows, so I presume was Maitland who is a resident professor. Lord Acton was a professor. Sir G. Trevelyan was 2nd classic of his year, but did not wait long enough in England to gain his fellowship. It was given him after his successful administration as Irish Secretary. Bishop Westcott was of pre-eminent reputation as a theologian and as a classic, and had been an ordinary fellow. So had been Lord Rayleigh.
So I am in very good company indeed. Is it not pleasant? This is a sort of recognition I value most highly. All the more so, as I did so little academically at Cambridge, in large part owing to ill health. But I seem to owe almost everything to Cambridge. The high tone of thought, the thoroughness of its work, and the very high level of ability, gave me an ideal which I have never lost.
So much egotistically. I am getting much stronger here, and have made the discovery that much of my asthma has been due to warm and overearpeted rooms. Mine here I have now had cleared of carpet and underlying straw. It feels so much purer and wholesomer. The first night after it was done I had no asthma at all. Looking to past experiences, I now see how commonly warm and carpeted rooms have been associated with my asthma, notably the drawing room of the Athenaeum Club, where I can rarely sit 10 minutes without beginning to cough. I am planning the taking up of carpets in my drawing, dining, bed and dressing rooms at home, and varnishing and staining the floors. I have two uncarpeted rooms there already where I have long noticed that I cough less than elsewhere (the bathroom and my workroom*).
The weather has been delicious here this morning. I took a good 4 miles walk without being tired, which is far in advance of what my powers were during the past summer. How I wish you t could get up and take walks too ! We have a few friends already come back....
Bessy's journeyings for meals on account of kitchen repairs at her own house are amusing. So is V... B...'s consignment of beetles !
Loves to Bessy, Erasmus and all. What are Erasmus' walking powers now when at his best 7 How many miles does he think lie could manage f l
Eva sends her love [here the handwriting changes]-and you will be glad to hear that Uncle Frank is looking remarkably well; this place has done a great deal for him mentally and physically; he can walk and eat and sleep like any ordinary person, but he does not present a very handsome appearance having a head still spotted with about 36 remaining bites from the mosquitoes of Hybres. We are so happy here, yr. affect. EvA. [Galton concludes] So much from Eva, who sketches and paints assiduously.
Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
A characteristic letter showing two sides of Francis Galton's feelings, towards his Alma Mater and towards his "sibship." One further letter
* The "workroom" at Rutland Gate was a very depressing room, with a single window looking into a well or high-walled court. On deal shelves were placed boxes of pamphlets and papers ; it gave one the impression of a store-room rather than a study. I think Galton chiefly worked, when on the ground floor at a writing table at the dining-room front window and when on the first floor at an oak bureau in the drawing-room.
t Francis was now 80, Erasmus 87, Emma 91 and Bessie 911