Characterisation, especially by Letters 573
persons of high social rank seems an expression of a conscious want of the polish that those have acquired and that they have not. If so, it is a pardonable feature, so far. I am glad you recall the zinc figure in the garden at Royat. It has left a deep impression on myself, not unlike that of Millet's "Angelus "-very sad, very brave, very noble. I had no idea that one of your sons had the honour of having played hockey with the present Queen of Spain! A lady who was here had joined in eating a bun with her, some years ago, at a pastry cook's. What a deal she has gone through already. Among the minor Spanish events is, I see, a resignation of the Premier, followed by a reconstituted cabinet. I am getting straight again and have driven out the last three days, and to-morrow we go for the week-end to friends at Haslemere. Next week I (and Gifi) go for three or four nights to Oxford, to the Arthur Butlers, which I think can be now safely effected. It is always such a great pleasure to see him. I am pitching into "Eugenics" again, seriously discussing the possibility and advisability of offering certificates, that must be trustworthy in reality as well as in popular appreciation, and that must be inexpensive and yet self-supporting. Though the thing is full of difficulty, I now think I see my way, so have just sent a paper to be typed, and to be submitted to a few critical friends before taking the next step. Lucy Studdy is in town and dines here to-night. Her embroidery won two prizes at a recent exhibition at Oxford. If you conic across a Pyrenean sun-dial, such as the shepherds
always carried with them, I wish you would invest in one for me. They can hardly cost more than 1 franc. I gave mine to the Pitt-Rivers Museum. The principle is to find the time by the altitude of the sun at any given season. The head of the dial is turned to the right place (month and day). The gnomon sticks out and casts a shadow. The cylinder is marked with proper curves, and is dangled at the end of a string, and the hour is read off. I have drawn the top badly here. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S. W. June 16, 1906.
DEAREST MILLY, Your letter is very interesting, but I grieve at Edward's rheumatism. We have had three cold and rheumatic days here but the bad spell seems just over. Thank you much about the Shepherd's sun-dials. The rougher and more every-day order that they are of the better. I will even ask you to get me two of them. I had neat box-wood ones made for me in England some fifty years ago, and I calculated the curves, and had them cut in them, for the latitude of London, but I liked the rough native ones better as objects of interest. I hope you may come across Count Russell after all. Amy is well out of Montauban hospitality. Your account of her reminded me vaguely of Vathek, who, absolute and incomparably learned monarch that he was, was so upset by his inability to decipher the magical letters on the sword given him by the magician, that of the 163 dishes presented to him at dinner he had so lost appetite as to be only able to taste 35 !
We had a most successful week-end visit last Sunday, when I was well "molly-coddled" under the surveillance of Eva, and three other nights at Oxford with the Arthur Butlers-all most pleasant. George G. Butler (whom you know) and his boy are with us now. They all go to the theatre to-night, with others who dine here. I shall smoke the cigarette of peace and quiet in great comfort at home. Fred's account of the Chinese would have been most welcome to the Unionist newspapers a few days ago, but after Mr Churchill's confession on the part of the Government that only twelve Chinese in all had asked to be repatriated, the case is closed.