Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

358   Life and Letters of Francis Galton

I am assured from many sides that Miss Elderton did her lecturing excellently. Also that Heron did his part as Chairman very well indeed. Miss Biggs was in London Thursday and Friday nights and met several "Eugenicals," full of enthusiasm. I grieve at the rudeness of your Mendelian opponents, which is harmful to progress. Confound them!

Don't hurry one bit, but don't please destroy the little problem I sent you about the proportionate efficacy of known and disregarded causes of variability in two correlated variables. It will keep as long as your convenience requires, and you are over-worked. I have thrown off my chronic cough for three whole days. May it prolong its absence. All goes on well, though of course monotonously.

Miss Biggs was at Miss Parker's wedding and delighted with all she saw.

Ever affectionately yours, FRANCIS GALTON. 7, WELL ROAD, HAMPSTEAD, N.W. December 14, 1908.

MY DEAR FRANCIS GALTON, I am sorry to trouble you again so soon and also to write, perhaps, unclearly, but I have only just got through the day and my back is giving me much pain. So please do not give undue weight to any phrase in itself. Miss Elderton came to me to-day and said that she had received an offer of the post of Secretary to a London College from the Principal of that College and that she had been given till Friday to consider her answer. That she had at first made up her mind to refuse, because she much preferred research work to executive work, and had not intended to tell me. But on second thoughts she felt she must ask my advice. Now I know exactly what this means, that home affairs are not too flourishing, and the post at the College means a definite post with steady rise, and a good position if needful for further advance. My impression of her is that she is a remarkably able woman with capacity in more than one direction. The first impulse was to say, but "you must stay here, the Eugenics Laboratory will collapse without you," but I felt without knowing your views, that this was hardly fair to her or to you. Now I want your advice before Friday. I cannot think of the Laboratory without Miss Elderton, she is the life and soul of the place, knows the whole of the material, writes all the letters and keeps everything going. I am sure she does not want to go, enjoys the work and is keen on the subject, and would find the secretarial work at a College less to her taste, but it offers an assured future. Now what ought we to do in the matter? I have always considered that you must look upon the Laboratory as on its trial and that if we failed to satisfy you, you must ruthlessly change the system or close the Laboratory as seemed to you best. Am I right therefore in trying to induce her to stay? I have no doubt, she is so valuable that she will always get a post, but suitable posts don't turn up every day and I feel if we advise her to stay we ought to say: If the Laboratory is closed or re-organised we will give you long enough notice to find a new berth. I don't think she would mind for herself, but, as I said before, her contribution to home funds is of some importance. On the other hand, if we go on, she is almost indispensable. It would take years to get any one with the same training, if even they had the same aptitude. Now what shall we do? It is not, I think, a question of money. There was ample when I last saw the accounts, and notwithstanding that there will be a heavy publication expenditure in the next six months (there are four memoirs nearly ready, and there is the Treasury) there is quite enough for present purposes and for a future pledging of resources. May I say to Miss Elderton: We will give you a permanent appointment subject to a year's notice, or such shorter period as would seem good to you and fair to her? The problem then is: Ought we in justice to her future to let her go? Or, ought we for the sake of the Laboratory to keep her with a more permanent post and perhaps an increase of salary? May I guarantee her, say £- or £- with a year's notice? I feel the answer cannot rest with me, because it depends to some extent on the future of the Laboratory. I don't want you to keep the Laboratory going for our sakes; we are all keen and ready to go on with the work on the lines which our powers render possible. But whenever you feel that we are not doing what you think best for the acquirement of that knowledge, which I know you have most at heart, then you must simply give me the word and we will bring things to a close. In this matter of Miss Elderton's, by advising her to refuse the College post I might be protracting the life of the Laboratory beyond your wishes, and thus I must consult you on the point. I do not know whether I have put her own wish strongly enough, she wants to stay and would do it at personal sacrifice, but here home calls on her have to be considered. Affectionately, K. P.


Previous Index Next