Characterisation, especially by Letters 571
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. May 14, 1906.
MY DEAR LucY*,
~tilrer Rez* xDuddesfiorz X Larches
My impression is that the three places t are the corners of an equilateral triangle, three miles to the side-but I have no map of Birmingham whereby to verify. Ladywood is by the "Crescent," to the right of the road from the Town Hall to the Five-Ways. Duddeston is located by St Anne's Church, and the Larches by Sparkbrook; I can give no more exact reference to the latter. The River Rea, once sparkling, subsequently filthy beyond compare and finally diverted into a sewer, fed the Duddeston ponds. One was called the Mill Pool and, I presume, not only had acted but did act during my grandfather's life-time, as such, to the Duddeston Water Mill, which subsequently was partly if not wholly replaced by steam power.
I am very glad that Arthur takes kindly to the idea. He is not handicapped, as I am, by crowds of ancient recollections, which had my Father and Mother, Uncles and Aunts, as their focus, and are with difficulty adjustable to the focus in which you are concerned, namely, your Mother.
I feel as if I did not deserve to be forgiven for my blunder about the paper of dates. It confirms a strong impression I have long had, that the way to mislay a document is to put it in some peculiarly safe place. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. May 15, 1906.
DEAREST MILLY, It is a relief to hear that the picture arrived safely. Glass, when cracked over a water-colour, does or may do great harm. Our letters will get again into order this week. To-morrow we go to Cambridge for the day to see Montagu Butler and my portrait. Also, solve of the Darwins, not George I am sorry to say, who will be away on business. Eva went yesterday with Gwen Chafy to see both Lucy Studdy and the memorial window at Ettington which they both liked greatly, I was glad to learn. Eva is much better. Guy must be glad of a fortnight of his old work, which he does so well. What an account you send of Johannesburg rascality. I have tirranged to have a look shortly at the Identification Department in Scotland Yard. The Chief Commissioner, Mr Henry, was, as you may remember, lent by the India Office to the Colonial Office, in order to get the Johannesburg Police into order, before taking up his present appointment under the Home Office. He told me that for Kaffir police purposes, a great desideratum was that each man should have, and be always compelled to use, the same readable name. It would be all the more necessary with the Chinese, whose names have less variety than those of Scotchmen (Highlanders). We have been very quiet at home. Last week there was a "gentlemen's soiree" at the Royal Society, where one of the most beautiful exhibits was a set of four large maps including only a small part of the Milky Way. The multitude of small stars that photography reveals far exceeds what could have been imagined, and the brilliancy of these multitudes of specks is astonishing. Edward Wheler comes to us on Thursday for two or three nights. He has much business to get through-the Land Agents' Society, and so on. I am going to subscribe to the Times library and shall put down the Bishop's Apron on my first list.
* Mrs Studdy, daughter of "Sister Bessy." It may interest the reader to know, that on the death of her mother, Mrs Wheler, she came into possession of several Darwin relics, and of these she left, on her death, the armchair of Dr Erasmus Darwin and silhouettes of his second wife and him to the Galton Laboratory.
f With regard to these three homes of the Galtons, closely associated with Francis Galton's boyhood, see our Vol. I, pp. 50-51 and Plates XXIX, XLV.