Characterisation, especially by Letters 453
17, NEW STREET, SPRING GARDENS, LONDON. Wednesday, .
MY DEAR BESSY, Bless your innocence 1 with regard to the postage and envelopes-I enclose this in one of a new pattern which may perhaps be explanatory of the allegorical design of the original; and in case that your understanding should still continue obfuscated, I enclose also some newspaper lines for your edification-'The reason why I asked about your painting mishaps was that, in case that you did so, I might coax you to illuminate some letters in my prize folio Seneca, but as you have got other things to amuse yourself with, I wouldn't ask you on any account to do it, as first of all it would make you stoop-2ndly when you are at the sea-why, what's the good of going there if you don't make the most of it?-3dly I should like to have a previous consultation with you on the correct colours etc. and 4thly there is no hurry. Therefore I don't want you to do it now. Q.E.D. As to the inelegance of the word "splodge" I confess it to be very great but the fact was, that after the previous night's "excitement" (as Mrs Wititterly would say all my wits were tending to fly sky-high, and indeed to leave me altogether-As an opposing force I therefore used all the most matter-of-fact expressions, and commonplaces, possible, which two forces, acting conjointly, produced a happy medium in the current of my mind. Indeed the night previous I was so completely `knocked off my legs" by Persiani, Erni, Rubini and Tamburini in Don Giovanni that I awoke up bawling away the air "La ci darem la mano etc." and only got to sleep again by means of a perpetual singing in my ears of "Batti, batti, bel Masetto etc."
Tam sorry poor Lucy* is so poorly and also the children, loves to them, please. I enclose you a bottle of Gold Size and hope it won't break. N.B. I write an answer by return of post, in order to keep up the new character which you have given me of letter-writing. I find the newspaper which contained the verses is burnt, so I write from memory and therefore excuse mistakes.
[LONDON, 1839 ?]
MY DEAR BESSY, As to my last letter, it must have been the very same postman that was in fault before when you sent me the missal, who has lost mine now. I am quite glad that you are so much better but "better" won't do in your accounts of yourself-they must be more medical. Such as: Jan. 27. Little sleep at night. Slight shivering on getting up. p.m. Headache and nausea. Acid taste in mouth. Occasional numbness in feet with tendency to be hysterical. After dinner-listless and a good deal of gaping. Appetite better.-Now you ought to send me such an account as this-as much longer as you like-of about one day in a week or so.
I called on the Horners the other day. Was shown up-only the Miss Horners there-in extradeep mourning-crape enough on them to furnish Woodhouse and Haddon's shop. I thought that one of the old birds had hopped the twig and was just going to tell them that I was very sorry that I had inadvertently intruded at such a time etc. etc. when one of them said that they had all been at a ball the night before till 2 o'clock. I don't know if mourning is considered here as a sort of fancy costume in character or not. Well, on leaving them I tooled to Charles Darwin, when 1 ! 1 round the knocker, with the utmost care and precision a grey kid glove was wound-I couldn't make out the knot-he could only have tied it so well by long practice f. This proceeding a la Kenwigs very much astonished me. Of course, I did not call. What am I to do? I have not heard anything about his having a little Perpetuation, but there can be only one way of interpreting the kid glove. Please write me word in your next letter, what you know, and all you know, of the Myners' Family of Weatheroak, near Birmingham, especially as relates to MissMyners. After all neither purse, money nor door key were pick-pocketed, but the Governor has I suppose told you the circumstances.
Give my love to,Lucy*, James and Animalculae. How is Mrs Howell? You would very likely have been just as bad as she was if you had not gone to Moor Hall.
I hope you have learnt the tune of "Nix my dolly pals-fake away etc." Darwin would like it of all things. It is quite necessary to know it to get on in the fashionable world. Good Bye etc. ERAS. GALTON.
* Galton's sister Lucy, who married James Moilliet.
t Probably the birth of Charles Darwin's eldest son, William Erasmus Darwin, is referred to.