Characterisation, especially by Letters 561
Erasmus still closer together. He, Erasmus, suggests that I and he should interchange periodical letters, say once fortnightly, to which I cordially agree. There are great merits in this place and I like it. We spent a long day a little since at Fuentarabia in Spain close by, but it is rather too cold and the days are still rather short for excursions. Your letter reached me yesterday as wet as if it had come out of Guy's trousers' pocket after his "humane" feat by St Malo. The story was that Seabrooke* bicycled to Biarritz, being invited to dine there by her friends. On returning, the weather there was at first rather blowy but dry. Here it was a gale with squalls of rain and we were anxious about her return. She ran into the gale about half way, and had to walk with her machine four or five miles, arriving here late with your letter in her pocket and every stitch of clothing on her wet through. A dose of hot tea and brandy, followed by dinner and early bed, has put her quite right. It is remarkable how popular she becomes wherever she goes. There was, and is, a Russian Archduke at the Hotel d'Angleterre at Biarritz with his suite, and there are other Russians also. On their Xmas Day (while we were still there) a big servants' dinner was given and according to Russian custom they chose a queen for the evening, and that queen was Seabrooke. She was crowned with and wore a handsome dish-cover.
I feel,just like you about Leamington. All special interest in the place is gone for me, which was for a long time so close and grateful. I greatly miss Bessy's weekly letters, too. In fact it is a big loss to me, that time cannot now go far towards supplying. I am glad to know that your affectionate heart feels it deeply too. What anxiety you must have had about Guy's very sharp attack and fever. Is not the present form of bad chickenpox a special type recently imported from Germany? I fancy that I have heard so. Free Trade in microbes and diseases 1 Hurrah for Free Trade ! We get good things however as well as bad through Free Trade. This cataclysm in the political world is ludicrous as well as terrible. Most likely it will be a refresher and turn to good in the end, but there are many wrong ways to one right one, according to Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Eva went to the Basque Cathedral last Sunday-most imposingthen a long, long procession through streets sparsely strewn with sweet-smelling rushes, which with Basque orderliness were all swept away that same evening.
Loves to Amy and all, ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
Address for next two or three days : Hotel de la Rhune, Ascain, Basses Pyrdndes, France. February 1, 1906.
MY DEAR WELDON, I owe you thanks for your kind sympathy and was indeed about to write when your letter to Miss Biggs arrived yesterday. As yet we have not noticed any arbutus but shall be to-day in less cultivated districts for we go to the above picturesque Basque village for a week certain and will take care to look out and to ask. Probably we shall go on four miles to Sarre where Mr Webster, the Basque authority, lives with his well-informed wife and daughter, and I will put them on the arbutus inquiry. We should have gone there instead of to Ascain, but some unexpected bother arose about the contemplated rooms. I should be grateful for a few lines about the horse-colour question and the Royal Society discussion, where I have heard from Pearson that Bateson drew a red herring across the track of the discussion. He also sent me a slasher in the Chronicle about X. and tuberculosis, well-deserved. X., with his fluent pen and Oriental character, strikes Ine as a precarious combination, not to be depended on overmuch. I heard from Schuster a few days ago but having been much preoccupied his letter is still unanswered. How does the book, the magnum opus, get on? You can hardly believe how much I thirst for its appearance, for your zoological facts are just those I am most deficient in.
We have had a quiet pleasant three weeks here, at St Jean de Luz, and feel the Spring in the air and the good time coming. The Royal Lover whirled through the town in his motor, to and from Biarritz, but I did not see him. One ought to "cast" a future (like a horoscope) for the prospective children. A queer medley of good and bad breed will run in their veins.
Ascain, and the inn there, where we go to-day, is where Pierre Loti wrote Ramuntcho. his ship was somewhere near and he got leave to stay on shore. The Bay is now wonderfully calm, such a contrast to when we arrived, when the waves ran wonderfully high and a newly wrecked ship lay on the shore. The sea reminds me of a gorged cannibal, sleeping with his stomach full. Ever very sincerely, FRANCIS GALTON.
Evelyue Biggs' maid.
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