Recognized HTML document
Previous Index Next

Characterisation, especially by Letters   535

be the colour of a clergyman's dress? It must be suitable for marriages, christenings, sick-beds and deaths. One suggestion was violet. My mother was fond of saying that she had had a much happier life than most, but that if she were given the choice of re-living it she would rather not. It is all very queer and no thinking about it gets one any "forrarder." Do you happen to recollect that skit of Voltaire, when describing the range of knowledge of his almost supernaturally informed Zadig. "...and as to metaphysics, he knew all that has been known since the creation, c'est a dire tres pen de chose." That bitter Monday last upset me in another direction, viz. gave me gastric catarrh, three or four days of sofa and slops. Eva was able to leave me on Wednesday for two nights at Allesley. She saw the cemetery at Leamington where the stone had just been placed, and she saw Bessy, whom she reports as looking exceptionally well and happy. I got out in a " growler " both yesterday and to-day. I was sorry to hear of your attack. Next Friday is the day of electing the "Eugenic" Fellow*; I shall be very glad when that is finished off. But though it will be practically settled on Friday, confirmation is formally needed by two bodies, (1) the Academic Council, (2) the Senate, before which the election cannot be final. I don't foresee the slightest difficulty in all this, only a week or two of further delay. Best loves. Is Guy with you? Is Hugh on his Swiss tour ? I gather that Amy is with you.

Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.

42, RUTLAND GATE, S. W. January 15, 1905.

DEAREST MILLY, I am grieved for Fred's mishap. When you learn more, do send me a post-card to say if it is simple or compound, and an ordinary or a bad fracture. An ordinary simple fracture is not such a very bad thing and need not lose him his appointment. I hope it is not worse. My own small malady is better. Slops, hot bottles and bed are my prescriptions, but at this moment I am writing on my lap, well wrapped up in an easy chair. On Friday I got to my Committee for an hour and back straight to bed. We unanimously agreed to recommend a man who will be formally elected by the Senate on the 25th, and I am perfectly satisfied, and so we all are. He is not the man I had chiefly in view, but his merits came out stronger and the drawbacks to the favourite became more conspicuous, so there was no doubt in placing him first. It is better not to mention names till the election is final. All this is a very great relief to me. Much is going on independently now re Eugenics. You will be glad to get the other half of your "pair of scissors" back. The Arabs somewhere have a list of things which are in pairs and cannot work singly, and which they say must have been created so at the beginning. The only one I recollect is a pair of tongs. With them a blacksmith can make everything, but he cannot make them without another pair. Your garden, birds, and possibly rats, will all show signs now of the incoming spring. Snowdrops ought to show soon. What lies the Russians will tell. That in Stossel's memorandum about the number of Russians in Port Arthur, was not one half of the real number. What an ingenious idea that of painting the surrender of Port Arthur on kites and sending them over the Russian lines. I am assured that there is no fun extant equal to that of flying meteorological kites from a swift steamer equipped for the purpose. It is easy to explore the air in that way for much more than 1 mile high. It requires a great deal of skill and. constant attention. Much has been done and is doing in that way. They are shaped quite differently to common kites, something like Venetian blinds, and carry no tails. They require a steam-engine to wind in the wire rope that holds them, and they are sent up in tandems.

Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.

42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. January 16, 1905.

MY DEAR WELDON, I should dearly like to see your views about the nature of dominance and their effect on Mendelian theory. If you really do send them, be assured I will read them with all the care I can. Can you explain (in a way) each necessary step in the imaginary case, say, of only three sorts of interfering germs?

I have spent days, some wholly in bed and others mostly so, by strict doctor's orders for gastric catarrh now. Really I am rather liking it, and don't object to slops for food. Hot bottles are delightful companions-I regularly have two. Very sincerely yours, FRANCIS GALTON.

* The reader will have observed that Francis Galton here and in several earlier letters uses the adjective "Eugenic." Perhaps he already saw the fun of this ; but several years later he solemnly warned me that I was not to allow any one to speak of the Eugenics Laboratory as the " Eugenic " Laboratory.


Previous Index Next