Characterisation, especially by Letters 559
January 6, 1906.
I had written the enclosed when your grave telegram arrived of "Mother much weaker." We are very sad. I realise only too vividly what is probably going on to-day, which is even worse to the onlooker than to the sufferer. My father constantly repeated this in respect to his violent asthma. He seemed to suffer terribly, but did not suffer so much as we used to fear. F. G.
Address next letter please to Hotel Terminus, St Jean de Luz, Basses Pyrenees, France. January 7, 1906.
MY DEAR EDWARD, I am so glad that the end was peaceful and not preceded by long suffering. You and M. L: will be conscious of having been an infinite support and help to your Mother, and will look back to her even more than motherly affection to you with continued remembrance. I lose in her the only remaining person who knew our family and family friends in the days of my boyhood. All her store of memories is now irrevocably gone. You, together with all your sorrow, will doubtless feel a dearly bought sense of liberty, for allyour movements have been guided by the thoughts of her convenience and happiness. Still it is something gained ; also the pecuniary gain to yourself and to Lucy. It is all in the order of nature. I wish you all well through the sad ceremonies previous to and at the churchyard. I would have asked to share in them had I-been within easy reach.
Ever very affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
HOTEL D'ANGLETERRE, BIARRITZ. January 7, 1906.
DEAREST MILLY, "The end came this morning, so peacefully. Wheler." Such is the telegram just received about dear Bessy. It is the last link with my own boyhood, for Erasmus was at sea, etc., and knew little about me then. So much of interest to myself is now gone irrecoverably.. But it was time, according to the order of nature, and I feel sure it will give longed-for liberty to Edward and M. L. to see distant parts. They were so devoted to Bessy and made their arrangements so subservient to hers, that the liberty must be welcome. But how they will feel the loss. Bessy's was a stoical life for a long time, not only after her widowhood but long before when her and her husband's income was very small. She battled bravely then. We go on Wednesday to St Jean de Luz, to the Hotel Terminus, for a week or perhaps more, for a change. Please address your next note there, but only the next one. We shall probably return here afterwards. Count Russell was staying at this hotel, and we had pleasant talks with him, and kind invitations to, his caves which Eva burns to accept, but I could not walk up to them. He has 500 acres of snow, 8000 and more feet above the sea, with rocks around it, as his property. Here are some of his caves*. He has been sleeping through the summer in sleeping-bags, not in beds, for the last 40 years ! Something in the food, or what not, has somewhat upset us and we shall be glad of a change for a little while. It is still very warm on the whole, but variable. I doubt whether it will be fit weather for San Sebastian yet, but we could so easily spend a day there from St Jean de Luz. Mr Webster, the Basque scholar, lives like a Basque in the hills nine miles from there, where I hope to see him. Excuse more, I have had to physic myself and to keep upstairs to-day, and am in addition a little upset by the sad news. Ever affectionately, with best loves, FRANCIS GALTON.
I am very sorry that your eyesight still gives some trouble.
HOTEL TERMINUS, ST JEAN DE Luz, BASSES PYRENEES, FRANCE. January 17, 1906.
DEAREST MILLY, I have delayed replying until everything had been received bearing on Bessy's death and funeral. She has indeed had much to be thankful for, especially in her closely reciprocated affection for Edward and Lucy, and the painlessness of the end. It must leave a terrible void in their affections and interests, judging even from what my own loss is to me, and of course far, far greater to them. But there is little use in talking of these things, even sympathy does not much help when wounds are deep and yawning. You must have been much distressed, and I look much for your next report on Guy and yourself and Amy. Sorrows come in battalions. They certainly are doing so to Lucy Studdy. Erasmus cannot attend long functions, he is medically unfit to do so. Edward and M. L. sat with Erasmus every evening in his room
* Presumably at Biarritz.