Characterisation, especially by Letters 533
You are doubtless an admirer of Wordsworth's "We are seven"; the following will serve as a pendant to it:
Draniatis Personae: Dirty boy, alone in an Edinburgh garret. Philanthropist Visitor. Ph.V. Where's your mither? Boy. Oot charing. Ph.V. Where are your brithers? Boy. Twa are oot begging. Ph. V. What ither brithers have ye? Boy. One in the Univarsity. Ph.V. Maybe he's studying for the meenistry? Boy. Na; he's in speerits in a bottle; he wa' born with twa heids.
Applicants for the Fellowship begin to be heard of. A very likely man is almost certain to apply. I had three hours' talk with him last Thursday. There are already five others, possible or actual candidates. Forgive this short letter. I have arrears to get through and am not yet wholly fit. Best loves to you all. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. December 3, 1904.
DEAREST MILLY, I trust you are satisfied with your "Lethbridge rat-research dog." My Research Fellow is still unfixed, but I hope daily to hear from the present favourite whether he will formally apply or not. He is now in France. What good news it is that Frank has got a permanent appointment of a kind that lie likes, and apparently on his unassisted merits. I wish I were fit to go to S. Africa with the British Association next autumn, but of course that is out of the question. The people who do go will have a hard and busy time of it, and must I fear take nearly all of their Science with them, for there is not much of it there--at least only few signs of it. If George, Darwin's health stands the work, it will be very congenial to him, for the most important feature will be the survey, as proposed, of an arc of the Meridian, to join the Cape surveys with the Russian, via Egypt. Geodesy is one of his special subjects. My past week has been one of coddle, until I am aweary of fires and blankets, which make me cough. We go to Branksome Hotel, Branksome Park, Bournemouth, on Monday for a few days, where "I may heal me of my horrid cough." It is a sort of "Island-valley of Avilion," with Poole Harbour on one side and the sea on the other. We are now looking forward to leaving for the South, somewhere early in February. I can't easily get away, and doubt if it be wise to get away, earlier. Then the almond trees are in blossom and spring is in the Southern air and the days are lengthening, and winter is past. Of course your rats are only the invading Hanoverians, not the more gentle and graceful black British ones. The latter are apparently almost extinct, under the action of blind Eugenics. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS G ALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. Saturday, December 17, 1904.
DEAREST MILLY, What villains they must be in Pretoria ! If youu hear, please tell me whether, and how, the finger-print system acts out there. Without a bureau manned by a really capable man and a couple of clerks, it would probably get into a complete muddle, so far as classification is concerned. Is there an Identification Department? I have not lately seen anything of the Scotland Yard doings, but I believe all goes on swimmingly. Dear Emma's gravestone is not even yet put up. Edward Wheler has seen it in Leamington, at the yard of the man to whom it is entrusted and likes it much, but there are certain details which delay. I send you a photo of the inscription, which you will like to keep, all the more for having helped in drawing up the words. The Galtonias at either side are utter failures*. The artist has no excuse, for he was supplied with many drawings; but accuracy is not the strong point of artists. They think as much of shadows as of substances, and a bandbox casts as black a shadow as a block of granite. (That metaphor might be worked up!) Hugh will delight in Rome. I am very glad that Fred is now so strong and happy. The last rose of summer-the last rat of the year ! You will have to keep and pet him or her. But the large probable families of rats are appalling. I heard that all the hives full of Ligurian bees in England, for
Few things pleased Galton more than the naming in 1880 by J. Decaisne (Professeur au Museum d'Histoire naturelle, Paris) of the Hyacinthus candicans, from South Africa, the "Galtonia." It is one of the most beautiful and hardy bulbs, shooting out a spike five feet and upwards in height. It differs much in habit though less in floral construction from our ordinary hyacinths. I well remember Galton's delight at finding two or three Galtonias growing in a bed of the garden of the house I was staying at, when the biometricians were at Peppard in 1903. See above pp. 523, 530. It was characteristic that lie should place it on his sister's tombstone.