Characterisation, especially by Letters 519
On Saturday, the 24th, my short geographical speech* came off, quite successfully. I will use the letter in French received to-day from the Secretary (in evidence) to wrap up the Jericho roses in. Sunday and Monday were days of heavy rain. Cairo was flooded and the desert was quite wet. We had tea with a Syrian, by name Makarius, who is a literary man and a printer, both in Arabic and in English, and whose acquaintance I made last autumn at the British Association. He showed me an Arabic periodical that forms a fat annual 810 volume, and which describes what goes on in the scientific world everywhere. There was a chapter in last year's volume about my latest work (the "Ancestral law," as people call it). We go with him to-night to hear some Arabic music. Tuesday we walked to see some big quarries of white stone, whence files of camels take the stones all day long to the Nile. On Wednesday I had a lunch and a tea party; Maud Butler and her companions came, also Eva's cousins with three children, and Mrs Procter. On Thursday we (Eva and I and a friend) went on donkeys about six miles, to see the wonderful quarries from which the stones were cut, which formed the Pyramids. The stones must have been rafted across the Nile, when flooded. From my window I can see at least seven large Pyramids (including those at Gizeh). I am told that it is possible to count seventeen of them. On Friday Eva and I made a desert expedition by carriage, and then onwards on foot. Yesterday we went for the day to Cairo, to do things, and to-day is Sunday. Schweiufurth and Professor Sayce (whose boat is 2- miles off) come to lunch with me to-morrow. The weather has now turned hot, with a southerly (sirocco) wind, of which this month. of March is sure to have plenty. They call it the Khamsin wind.
Those Jericho roses-they will make a letter unsafe, as the post office people may think they are something valuable. So I have enclosed them in a separate packet, which may or may not reach you, and I send the crumpled letter of the Secretary in this-tear it up.
The above was written yesterday. We went in the evening to an Arab concert. The singers were five Syrian Jewesses. The room had a gallery round it with muslin draperies, behind which the native ladies sat. The few European ladies and all the men sat below. Eva was taken up to see the native ladies and says they had very good and pleasant manners and some were very picturesque. They were all powdered on the faces, and the eyes and eyebrows were much painted; not much perfume. Yesterday Mr W. Bearcroft introduced himself. His father was the clergyman at Hadzor f .
He is on the engineering staff of the railroad. He had heard that the Cunliffes (Evelyn+) were on the point of going, perhaps had already started for Cairo.
I am anxious for home news of all sorts, for Gifi also is a little later than usual with his letter; so also is Frank Butler. I only know that Chumley has been successfully operated on. I hope that Darwin is recovering steadily, and that you, Bessy, have lost your cough at last. Mine is practically gone for present purposes, but I know that bad English weather would soon bring back that peculiar abomination. As for you, dear Emma, you do not often tell me about yourself, so I imagine ups and downs. I hope Erasmus is now quite right. Bob Lethbridge has not apparently been in the late heavy fighting. I wonder how soon the regular fighting will be over, and armed occupation begin. This is only a sort of diary, you must please interpolate many affectionate thoughts in my bald matter-of-fact story. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
The following Postscript from a letter indicates that Galton had by midsummer exchanged the desert for Pall Mall.
TIIE ATHENAEUM, PALL MALL, S.W. June 29,. 1900.
P.S. I am enjoying this afternoon at the Club, and my favourite (but unwholesome) afternoon provender is just set down at my elbow, viz. tea and muffins, with a muffineer and a large napkin to wipe buttered fingers on.
See our Vol. 111A, pp. 158 and 159.
I See our Vol. I, p. 53 and Plate XXIX. $ See p. 506, second footnote, above.