Characterisation, especially by Letters 593
MEADOW COTTAGE, BROCKHAM GREEN, BETCHWORTH, SURREY. February 7, 1909.
DEAREST MILLY, Erasmus is, I believe, as comfortable as the case permits, and not in pain at all when still. I have not the least notion how soon he will be allowed to sit up and to attempt getting about in the smallest degree. It is difficult to see how his future life can be best arranged. Anyhow he has many comforts at the Regent Hotel which he could not easily meet with elsewhere, so at the worst he could remain where lie is. Edward and M. L. were to have been with us to-day, but of course their plans had to be changed. The end of our stay approaches. The donkey and cart go to their home to-morrow and I part with them without much regret. Too much of a donkey like that would do permanent injury to one's temper, and make one revel in imaginary thwackings, pokes and imprecations. I have renewed a longlapsed acquaintance here with the widow of a college chum, Mrs-Ray, and find it very pleasant. There are many very nice people about here, as everywhere in England. My lease is out on March 1, but we shall leave a little earlier and go to Lyndhurst (or thereabouts) for March. In my walking tours of long ago, I came to the conclusion that the New Forest was the best place to find shelter from the cold March winds and to get sunshine. Besides, Lyndhurst is close to Eva's brother, the clergyman, who has a singularly pretty vicarage. You have not of late mentioned Hugh, your clergyman son. Doubtless no news is good news. The Eugenics Education Society is about (in a month or two) to publish a quarterly shilling publication, the Eugenics Review. There is a good Editorial Committee and it may be a success. I have just written a page or two as a "send off." Also I am again busy about the Feeble-Minded, being asked to help in a publication with Sir E. Fry and one or two others. This may possibly not come off. I have got the immense Report, eight folio volumes, of as yet unmeasured weight but certainly equal to that of a good-sized, well-packed portmanteau, out of which a few facts have to be gleaned. Best loves to you all. I heard of Guy at Claverdon, and hope that Amy has by now shaken off her cold. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.
MEADOW COTTAGE, BROCKHAM GREEN, BETCHWORTH, SURREY. February 15, 1909.
DEAREST MILLY, Excuse this paper. I am writing before breakfast, and all of my proper letter-paper is finished. This squared paper is very convenient for my usual work and I always use it for that. Erasmus seems very comfortable, all things considered, and will I am sure find many compensations in the life of an invalid with attentive valet and nurses and plenty of friends. I hear of him from many quarters and all is to the same purport. The end of our stay is, in sight, next Saturday will be our last Saturday here. I am in treaty for rooms in the Crown Hotel, Lyndhurst, which Eva went down to see. Though we are one hour S.W. of London, the only practicable way of reaching Lyndhurst by train is to go back to London and change there. It may prove more convenient by far to motor direct, and good motors are to be hired ill Dorking. We shall see. A merit of the New Forest in March, which I realised in old walking days, is that the bare trees check much of the March winds and practically nothing of the March sun. Besides, Eva's brother, Walter, has his living two miles off. How the days roll on! I shall be 87 to-morrow and find on consulting YW'hitaker's Almanack that my "Expectation of Life" is now reduced to three years. In other words, that I am as likely to die before as after the age of 90. Also, that only one male out of every 50 reaches that age. Females are longer lived.
1 have got off two little bits of work this week. One is the contribution I spoke of to the Cambridge hand-book, as it were (I don't know its title), to the Report on the Feeble-Minded. If they send me off prints when it is printed, I will send you one. Also, I will send you the first number of the Eugenics Review, when it comes out in raid-April, that you (and I) may see whether it promises well. Heron (the "Research Fellow") has been week-ending here, and brings good reports of the progress of heavy work at the Eugenics Laboratory. Once again, about Erasmus broken neck of the thigh bone. It is broken just below the cartilage; a common accident in old people. The fracture never mends but the broken end forms itself into a false joint, that is not wholly useless. T suppose that all inflammation has now subsided, so he can be moved, with much care, without pain.
Sucli a capable man tea-cd here yesterday! Col. Melville, a doctor, the head of the Central Army Institution for tropical disease (chiefly). It is in fact what Netley used to be under Dr (? Sir) E. A. Parkes and is situated close by the Tate Gallery at Millbank. Heron is to go to his laboratory this week, to see how far the information collected there will be useful to the Eugenics Laboratory. He offers it freely to us. Guy knew Netley well, but
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