Characterisation, especially by Letters 549
surname; call this group A. Another sort me fa fa and me fa bro bears the mother of the writer's maiden surname; call this group B. The other two sorts bear different names; call them C and D. Then the numbers recorded are in this proportion : A 1 : B 2 : C 4 : D 4, showing how largely family recollections stick to the family surname. It all comes out very sharp and clear and consistently. The male first cousins follow the same rule, but less emphatically. I had somewhat tired myself about the book, but am quite rested and well now. I wish Bessy was more free from her rheumatism, etc. She seems at present to be quite confined to her sofa, but writes as cheerfully as ever. Frank Butler came here yesterday evening for two nights, quite well and not apparently overwhelmed by his three little daughters. I begin to count the days that remain to us here. We have to go on next Thursday week. There are very nice people. and not a few old friends within pony-trap distance. I called on one, Mrs Archibald Smith, the mathematician's widow, whom I had not seen for many years. Her hall was hung round with African trophies. There was a beautifully strong and light iron chain with loops in it, which I thought was some kind of chain ladder, the loops being for the feet. But it was a slave chain. A gang of slaves was found by her son, the men were released and the chain kept. The loops went round their necks. Another thing was what looked like a big firescreen, with black leathern drapery. It was made of the two ears of an elephant.
Enclosed is some tin-foil. I had an amusing hunt after it in London and learnt much. It is only made at two or three factories, partly for druggists, partly for wine merchants to cover their bottle-mouths. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. September 25, 1905. (This will be my address now.)
MY DEAR BESSY, You are a "bonne ecrevisse" in the sense the gentleman meant. One never gets the big crayfish to eat in London, but I see them in shop windows. They are the most divine-right-of-King sort of fish. The biggest one in an aquarium sits as it were on a throne and the others gather round like courtiers in the most comically humble positions. I know they are good eating and must get one when we return. We pack up to-morrow and leave here on Wednesday, but not direct to London, which we reach on Saturday evening. We are sorry to go, but have a store of pleasant things to recollect. Evelyn Cunliffe* was to come to tea to-day, but it rains and we hardly expect her, it is a long drive. It gets cold too at nights. I have started winter underclothing to-day, and wanted it. I shall be interested to hear Edward's report of Erasmus. It seems so dreary for him to be practically alone in that wooden hut, but he has friends near and likes it.
Thank you for Miss Johnstone's address; I will write soon to her. All my things are in arrear now, that blessed book has thrown them all behind. A packet with the MS. of it, addressed to the publisher, is at this moment lying on the table by my side. It will go off by the same post as this.
What a disagreeable intruder upon her finger Gussyt seems to have had. Suppose it had cone suddenly beyond her rings ! There is some Arabian Night, or the like, story of a man who has a ring of mystic power, about which he knows nothing and is on the point of selling it to a wicked magician, when his guardian fairy takes the form of a wasp and stings the finger, which swells, so the ring cannot be removed. I wish some fairy would give me a better pen than this to write with. It scratches like a needle. Best loves. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. September 27, 1905. (This will be my address now.)
DEAREST MILLY, The convicts must have been depressing. They are not however so homeless when set free, as big societies work in unison with Government to take care of them. But a broken-kneed horse and an ex-criminal are not favoured. It is all very sad. Government can't set up a factory, for all the trade unions are up in arms against competition by state-aided workers. We pack up to-morrow and leave on Wednesday, not directly for home but for three nights with friends near, and return to Rutland Gate on Saturday. It was amusing about your
* Sir Douglas Galton's elder daughter.
t Second wife of Herman Ernest Galton, Francis Galton's cousin: see our Vol. I, Pedigree Plate A.