446 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
I shall commence this chapter of Galton's Life and Letters with an appreciation of her uncle by his niece, Mrs Lethbridge-Millicent Bunburythe child of Galton's beloved sister and instructress Adele. She most kindly prepared it for me on Galton's death, 19 years ago, and it seems best to me to publish it now just as it was written. She is the "Milly" of many of the letters printed below. It is very characteristic of Galton that when his "home" letters ceased on the death in 1904 of his Sister Emma, aged 93, he felt the need of continuing the family correspondence, and selected his niece, Mrs Lethbridge, to exchange letters with him.
Recollections of Francis Galton by Millicent Lethbridge.
I will begin these short "recollections" of my dear uncle, Francis Galton, by repeating the child-stories my mother has told me, but first you must allow me a digression that I may explain the share she had in his early life. My mother spent a dreary childhood and girlhood, seldom leaving the sofa to which she was condemned owing to curvature of the spine. She had little to amuse or interest her in those weary years, until, when she was eleven, my uncle Francis was born. My grandfather took the baby to her, saying: "Here, Adele, is a baby brother come as a present for you! How do you like him?"-"Like him!" A new life began then and there for my mother. She set feverishly to work, teaching herself Latin, Greek, German, Italian, and I know not what besides, to fit herself for the task of educating the baby. All her interests, thoughts and ambitions were wrapped up in the little creature. It lay by her side on the sofa, and with the enthusiasm and impatience of a child, she lost no time in cramming it with all her miscellaneous, self-acquired knowledge. I believe the baby could read at two, and what it had learnt by the age of four, I do not venture to report! Strange to say, the baby throve on the system, and delighted as much in learning as his sister in teaching. The two were devoted to each other, and it was a bitter wrench to my mother, when, at eight years old, her darling was sent to a school at Boulogne.
I recollect two or three anecdotes my mother told me of his very early years. My grandfather, anxious to render his boys self-reliant, sent Francis, then about seven years old, to pay a visit to a relative at some distance. The child was to ride his pony, spend the night at a certain inn, and finish the journey next day. A servant was instructed to follow (unknown to the boy) two or three miles behind in case of accidents. When Francis was questioned about his adventures, he related how, on reaching the inn, he had ordered supper and a bedroom, and had then proceeded to empty his purse and hide a shilling under a pillow, a sixpence under a chair and so on, "because then, if a robber came, he might take some of my money, but not all, so that I could still pay my bill!" I am sorry, however, to say that I cannot verify this story, my uncle having entirely forgotten the occurrence.
He had a remarkably sweet temper, and it used to be a joke between his brothers to see if they could not make him angry. Do what they would, they hardly ever succeeded. My mother once said : "Frank, how can you keep your temper as you do? "I don't," he answered, "but I've found out a capital plan. I go to my room as soon as I can get away, and I beat and kick my pillow till I'm tired out, and by the time I've finished, my temper's all gone." In later life my uncle's self-control was really wonderful. I have seen him, on more than one occasion, "keep himself in hand" under the greatest provocation, although I presume the "pillow-recipe" had long been abandoned.
Another child-story is that of his falling off his pony into a ditch, and being dragged out by the legs by his elder brother, the seven or eight year old boy, half-choked with mud,' spluttering out Hudibras,
"I am not now in Fortune's power, He that is down can fall no lower!"
One more story and I have done. A lion had escaped from a menagerie and the child was in terror lest it should suddenly pounce down upon him. His father found him trembling in bed, and said : "Why, Frank, you know the lion has no pocket-money to pay the turnpike, so