Characterisation, especially by Letters 581
Poor Milly Lethbridge has had nearly a fortnight in bed with influenza; Dim* was again sent to bed, I hope only for a short time. Their principal maid has been quite ill, etc., and is gone away for a while to get strong again. I expect Eva back to-morrow, but have urged her to stay on, if good for her head.
This is a season of sad recollections for you. I can hardly think that it is only one year since your Mother's death. Best love to M. L. Tell her that I have learnt one good cooking receipt-viz. not to serve Whitings boiled with their tails through their eyes, but to spitchcock, take out their bones, and fry them. They are quite good eating in this way. Very like soles and, if possible, better. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
3, HOE PARK TERRACE, PLYMOUTH. -February 4, 1907.
MY DEAR EDWARD, What an escape! Don't let the Egyptian sun get into the head, which may be tender for a while. I hope you will be able to go, and to enjoy and learn. Also that you may not get too much of the March hhamsin hot winds. "Khamsin" means "50," = the number of days during which that sometimes detestable wind is apt to blow. Thank you for the newspaper slip which seems to give a fair account so far as it goes.
The news that compound drenches are being well tried is good. In some future time, babies will undergo "suction" at the same time as their baptism, to preserve them from all microbic ills, and will repeat the same at about the age of confirmation.
I am just now at some statistics that might interest you. They are those of a weight judging competition of the West of England Agricultural Society-800 returns. They show the sort of value possessed by the Vox Populi. The distribution of error is curious. Half of those who judged below the average of the whole lot were more than 46 lbs. lower than that average; on the other hand, half of those who judged above the average were more than 28 lbs. above it. So the distribution of error is skew. Why it is so, and what the correction should be for skewness, I cannot yet make out, but am busy at it. The average was 11 lbs. wrong.
My "Eugenics" has started on a revised scheme very hopefully. The laboratory is now attached to Karl Pearson's department in University College, and will be well looked after by him and become in all probability important. The staff consists of a Fellow, a Scholar and a Computer, and all statistical work will be rigorous and of the most recent kind. It, in fact, constitutes a new department of Professor K. Pearson's excellent Biometric Laboratory.
All goes on here comfortably though rather monotonously. Presumably you will start (if you go) for Egypt from here. It would be nice if you were to stop a night or so at Plymouth en route, but I am sure that you are unlikely to spare time for the purpose. Pray tell me the date of your start that Eva may have a chance of accompanying you on board. I am wholly confined to the house for most days. I expect Eva to go away (for a week) and _'Hilly to take her place, on the 14th. Best love to M. L. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
Archdeacon Bree was very much better two days ago, and out of danger (at Bournemouth). Edward Lethbridge's girl has been very dangerously ill with typhoid. The last news is cheerful.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. March 30, 1907.
DEAREST MILLY, Being alone, I was doubly glad of your letter. Karl Pearson simultaneously sent me a copy of the paper. Seabrooke has written to me, with an added postscript from Eva, to say that a longer letter from her is coming. Probably it will not arrive till after the last outgoing post of to-day. All seems going on favourably, but to what end who can foretell? Face to face as T now am with solitariness, it seems more endurable, even during illness, than I had feared, so long as servants work happily together. Also it draws me back to old friends, which is a moral gain. I have been busy with an old method of mine, adopted only at long intervals, of stock-taking of my own character, and grieve to find it has somewhat deteriorated in two particulars. The process may interest you, and if on this occasion I can elaborate it further, it may be worth publishing. Its essence is (1) to catch oneself unawares and to consider carefully the thoughts and moods that were at that moment in the mind, and (2) to note them. The (1) is not difficult at first, but after a while it becomes very difficult without independent aid such as a person calling out or a machine striking. (2) requires a good deal
* Pet-name of Miss Amy Lethbridge.