Characterisation, especially by Letters 541
by rash acts of fatigue, etc. But I envy you Ferrara, about which I have been lately reading in Hodgkin's big work on the last days of the Roman Empire and of the Goths, etc. I have this villa only until the end of the month, but shall try for a prolongation of my sub-lease. We are quite at home here, having many friends about. I see that K. Pearson has delivered his three lectures, but detailed news does not reach me here. Oh! this blessed Riviera (when it is in good humour) for invalids. It is almost worth having been ill to enjoy the balm of its air. With both our kind regards to you both. Ever sincerely, FRANCIS GALTON.
Be sure to remember me to the Pearsons when you write. Schuster seems energetically at work. 43° 46'= Bordighera, 44° 50'= Ferrara.
CASA -, BORDIGHERA, ITALY. March 11, 1905.
DEAREST MILLY, I am indeed grieved at your continued anxieties. The coming spring is however all in favour of your invalids. We have had three or four days of perfect weather here, and I have sat out most of each clay in a wooden shelter in the garden and got through a goodish deal of work there. Carnival with its mild tomfoolery is happily over. It was got up by a socialistic town-council of all things. There is a superstition against it still, on account of the earthquake having come nearly 20 years ago, on ('1) Ash Wednesday, owing' to the sins of carnival during the preceding week. I am not sure of the exact logic, but it is something like the above. The owner, from whom we took this house, has lost her divorce suit; the Judge considered the action void of just foundation. She is much liked here. I know nothing, and care less, about the ins and outs of the case. He is "adored" (so an old Scotch lady told me) in Edinburgh, so presumably there are faults on both sides. I do not know whether she will let us prolong our lease until Easter, but I shall ask permission, not knowing any more suitable place to go to. I wish your invalids felt the blessing of returning health as I do, but I am not up to further travel now, and intend to risk nothing needlessly. One of the doctors here is a very interesting Italian, Agnetti by name. He was born in humble life at Parma, did well at College, became doctor, and settled here, much disparaged by his already settled competitors. There was then a government movement in favour of introducing suitable plants, and people having gardens were invited to help. Agnetti had a small plot and distinguished himself by what he did in planting and reporting, so much so that he was made "Commendatore," which gave him considerable social position. He doctored me when I was here before and I thought him a particularly capable and pleasant man. Now he has become fired with political zeal and has been elected representative for Parma. So he is now "Onorevole," a much coveted distinction, and sees his way to combining parliament in Rome with physic here. It seems odd. I have not yet seen him, only messages have passed. He was full of the Italian quinine treatment and had good stories about it; one to the disadvantage of Koch, the Prussian, whom the Italian doctors hated for his arrogance, but the story is too long to tell properly. Briefly, Koch looked at a patient who seemed dying (in a ward placed at his disposal) and simply said: "Let his body be kept for me when I come to-morrow." The Italian physician thought, after Koch had gone, he might fairly intervene, so he injected quinine into the man's vein. When Koch called the next day the patient was sitting up in his bed devouring a hand-full of macaroni!! Of course the Italian doctors were delighted at Koch's stare of astonishment.
Ever affectionately, with loves to you all, FRANCIS GALTON.
CASA -, BORDIGHERA, ITALY. March 12, 1905.
DEAR SCHUSTER, Enclosed are heavy but important letters, every one of them for you to read, and those to Miss Kirby, Miss P. Strachey, Sir J. Crichton-Browne for you also to forward. You might like to correspond with Dr Urquhart, and even with Miss Philippa Strachey and the rest. If so, write on official paper and enclose my letter with yours. I send stamps. You will see about the latter in the Strachey biography. She is very accomplished and might give useful help.
I am strongly inclined to think that, as Dr Mott has the insane in hand, you would do well to concentrate on the feeble-minded. My reasons are based not only on what I hear from you about Miss Kirby, but especially from what was told me a week ago by a most intelligent ladydoctor, who keeps a "home" in London (in Wimpole Street I think), Dr Lillias Hamilton, of Afghanistan celebrity. She was nurse and doctor to the late Ameer during five or six years.