412 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
love-episodes were too absurdly unreal. It is perhaps needless, in view of what has been said above*, to say that I should have given no such advice. Galton was failing in physique but not in mind, when I talked with him less than three weeks before his death ; and to recommend him to destroy what he had thrown time and energy into creating would have seemed to me criminal. If Swift had died before the issue of Gulliver's Travels, or Samuel Butler before the publication of Erewhon, their relatives might possibly have destroyed with equal justification those apparently foolish stories. I do not assert that Galton had a literary imagination comparable with that of Swift or of Butler, but I feel strongly that we small fry have no right to judge the salmon to be foolish or even mad, when he leaps six feet out of our pool up a ladder we cannot ascend, and which to us appears to lead into an arid world. We must remember that Galton had set before himself in the last years of his life a definite plan of eugenics propagandism. He wanted to appeal to men of science through his foundation of a Eugenics Laboratory ; he had definitely approached separate groups like the Anthropologists in his Huxley Lecture and the Sociologists in his lecture before their Society and in his subsequent essays ; he had appealed to the academic world in his Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford, and to the world that reads popular quarterlies in his Eugenics Education Society. But there are strata of the community which cannot be caught by even these processes. For these he consented to be interviewed, and for the still less reachable section who read novels and only look at the picture pages of newspapers, he wrote what they needed, a tale, his " Kantsaywhere." His scheme for proselytism was a comprehensive one, but I think Galton knew his public better than most men.
An Ibsen or a Meredith with far more imaginative power would, if they had taught Galton's creed, have struck above the level of those for whom Galton intended his tale. Its actual composition was started in May or June of 1910, when Galton had returned to Rutland Gate from Haslemere. It received many modifications in characters, names and actions during the following six months. In December he was sufficiently satisfied with it to submit it to a publisher, but the publisher would have none of it ! Galtonas I realised, once he began to send me papers for criticism-was so modest that a moderately adverse judgment on a single point might lead him to discard many months of work; one learnt to mix praise with every suggestion for amendment. Almost anyone's adverse judgment, even that of a publisher or his reader who must assess solely by the likelihood of profit, was enough to shake Galton's confidence in his own work. To his niece, Mrs Lethbridge, he wrote on Dec. 28
You and Guy more especially must have bad a wretched time of floods and tempests. We on the high ground feel like Noah on Ararat....
The glorious frosty sunshine of this morning picks me up. I have been ' throaty" and obliged to rest a good deal. Karl Pearson comes this afternoon for one night. I am saving my voice for him. " Kantsaywhere " must be smothered or be suspended. It has been an amusement and it has cleared my thoughts to write it. So now let it go to "Wont-say-where." My very best New Year wishes to all of you and best love. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
* See above, p. 408.