Characterisation, especially by Letters 515
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. October 27, 1899.
DEAR PROFESSOR K. PEARSON, Sir H. Roscoe told me last night that Miss Alice Lee had got her degree. The mathematicians were however troublesome.
In your paper the wording of the most interesting experiment with the poppy capsules seems to me obscure. I am not sure that I even now understand it correctly. I have pencilled "obscure" on p. 33. Would it not be well to use some totally different word for the phrase net fertility? The word "zygote," though a direct derivative from the strict sense of conjugation, seems to me unhappy. I have been seeking for occasion to protest against its use by Sedgwick in his British Association address. To speak like St Athanasius might have done, a yoke divides the persons and does not confound their substance; it applies to the stage when the spermatozoon approaches the ovum that is pouting to receive it, but not to the stage in which the nuclei of the two have become fused together, and which is that which it is desired to express. I have a parental weakness for my old word "stirp."
Enclosed I send a copy of my little British Association paper, just received, which may amuse you. Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.
HOTEL KARNAK, LUXOR, EGYPT. December 15, 1899.
DEAREST EMMA AND BESSY, Your letters have come like the wind and have just reached me. I sent a provisional post-card yesterday and now send a proper letter. Particulars of Lord Methuen's serious repulse and heavy losses have just come here, not names of officers, only the numbers of them. He seems to have been out-generalled, and in other battles also the Boers seem to have shown more generalship than we have done. The Army is doing its best and we can't expect more. It is very very sad; inadequate intelligence of what the power of the Boers really was, and much else. May this terrible experience lead to good. I am glad that Lord Kelvin wrote his letter to the Tunes. It exactly allots due share to all concerned and emphasises what had already been expressed elsewhere. I am so sorry that Leonard Darwin failed in getting into the London County Council. Lucy* must be very pleased at her prize and commendations. How unlucky both she and you too, Bessy, have been with colds. As to the prizewinning cat, on this the third occasion congratulations are effete, so I send a reminder of the serious aspect of cat life. Cats must die. When they died in Egypt, at all events at Denderah, they were mummied with reverence; so were dogs. I was at Denderah (D on map) three days ago, and there picked up the mummied leg of a dog, but it might have been that of a cat, and cut off a scrap of the mummy cloth, which I enclose. It might be put between two bits of glass gummed round the edges. The map and pictures, which I enclose, will explain. Our vessel, the " Mayflower," is very like the "Puritan,'' there represented. It is comfortable having a big vessel with plenty of attendance all to oneself. -
Some of the people, indeed most of them, are nice or fairly nice. To-day
we had an excursion of seven hours including about 14 miles of donkey ride. I was lucky in beast and in saddle, and enjoyed it as much as any horse ride that I can recollect. The wonders are just unspeakable. All I can venture
to say in addition to guide books is that the clearings of the very few last years have added immensely to what was to be seen before, especially to the many bright-coloured wall paintings and hieroglyphics. The unearthed bases of many columns have made them much more stately.
The only drawback here is that we are aloof from the natives. In a dahabieh one lived among them. On the other hand the convenience of river steaming is great. We start for Assouan to-morrow and get there in two days. Then wait four days there for a little steamer that plies between the 1st and 2nd cataracts, and ultimately return here to Luxor on Jan. 1. Then we go to Petrie for a week or so, and then return to Luxor for a stay of at least a week, probably more. I have made friends with a geographical Pasha, who promises to introduce rile to people when we return to Cairo. You shall of course hear from time to time. It is rapidly growing dark, so I must stop. With all loves, ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
* Galton's niece, his sister Bessy's daughter, Mrs Studdy.