424 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
again accredit them with occasional physical powers. Everyone here feels that they themselves will, after their life is over, join the spirit legion, and they look forward with eager hope that their descendants wll1 then do what will be agreeable and not hateful to them. I have heard some who likened life to the narrow crest of the line of breakers of a never-resting and infinite ocean, eating slowly and everlastingly into the opposing shore of an infinite and inert continent. But that metaphor does not help me much, beyond picturing what, in their view, is the smallness in amount of actual life with the much larger amount of elements of potential life. It is quite possible that if their confused ideas were worked out by theologians, who in a general way firmly believed in them, and who were able to define on valid grounds the extent of influences that the spirit world exerts over the living world, a very respectable creed might be deduced. Their superstition certainly succeeds, even as it is, in giving a unity of endeavour and a seriousness of action to the whole population. They have no fear of death. Their funerals are not dismal functions as with us, but are made into occasions for short appreciative speeches dwelling lovingly on the life-work of the deceased.
"The houses near the town are practically villas, for the use of town dwellers, each with a small garden for flowers, vegetables and fruit. The extent of garden and agricultural land is about twenty square miles. There are about 500 holdings in all, of a rough general average of 40 acres each. About one half of these are let at a low rent, especially to highly diplomaed parents. Though every married couple has perfect freedom in choosing his residence here, or in emigrating elsewhere, the attractions offered to those who settle in the country are so large and many that the pick of the Collegiates occupy farms or villas. A country life is considered to be so highly conducive to the health and size of families that a large part of the wealth of Kantsaywhere is gladly allotted to its encouragement. It is a great convenience to the Registrar to have so large a part of his charge located close at hand and for his inspectors to have means of easily verifying doubtful statements by conversation with neighbours. Nearly every household undertakes some unpaid office connected with administration and there is abundance of local pride and patriotism in doing this work well. With a less gifted people these customs would hardly answer, but here it is otherwise.
" The character of the farming of Kantsaywhere is in many respects such as is described as ruling in Denmark, but for the most part it must bear a closer resemblance to...."
Here my fragment breaks off, the remainder having been removed, so that it is not possible to say what agricultural system Galton thought superior to that of Denmark.
Galton himself wrote very little of "Kantsaywhere " down ; he dictated it to his Secretary, and was much diverted by his own characters. On one occasion he had to be reminded.that he had already killed a personage, whom be badly needed later, and accordingly, much to his amusement, the slaughter had to be revised.
It is needful here to recall a point which Galton as an anthropologist strongly insisted on. He held that any form of superstition held by a tribe or nation as a whole-even the - worst type of fetishism-was a source of strength to the believing group. A religion might be false, but anthropologically it was better than no religion*.
Galton was a firm agnostic, that is to say while fully recognising the infinite mystery behind life, and indeed behind the physical cosmos as well, he did not think that man could fill the void either by his own reasoning or by revelation of a transcendental kind. Nevertheless he believed that every nation required its peculiar " superstition," and he devised in the above paragraph a curious one for the inhabitants of Kantsaywhere. It appears to
* See pp. 88-89 above.