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Characterisation, especially by Letters   609

newly created peers with those of other persons of the same date. The data for this are easy to get. A great error, for which I am partly to blame, has been in laying too much stress on breeding from the very highest. If the matter were so simple as to be reducible to this form :such and such a sum is available to induce persons to marry, is it best policy to spend it on the few very best or to distribute it more widely? In that simple case the former of the two alternatives would be best. But the case to be dealt with is different. It is largely a question of social approbation or the reverse. I am thinking of writing on this subject and am getting the plan of what I want to say in a clear shape, before beginning. Anyhow, it would be excellent eugenic policy to favour the marriage of those who are somewhat but not necessarily much more likely than the rest to produce capable citizens. The average level might thus be raised a grade or two, with little difficulty, and sports from that level, two or three grades higher than it, would be common and would produce very able men. Whereas an equally high deviation from the lower level would be very rare. (By "grade" I have the Probable Error in mind.) Excuse more; I have had rather bad asthmatic troubles since arriving here, but am "at my usual " to-day, or nearly so. Very faithfully yours, FRANCIS GALTON.


My DEAR MILLY, Again I am late in writing and cannot excuse myself, especially as I am materially better (for the while), having thrown off I know not what, but anyhow a sense of illness and much asthma. We are house-hunting for the winter and know of likely ones, but have not yet seen all. I go to one in a quarter-of-an-hour with my nurse and a light carrying chair on the box of a victoria, Eva and myself inside. I trundled in my bath-chair to one this morning, which had in its garden "a grove" of Galtonias. We are 800 feet high hereabouts. Edward Wheler was with us last Saturday-Sunday, looking very well. I am simply without news or anything of interest to tell you. I expect that Bob Butler will be at Clermont-Ferrand to-day. He will report to me about the grave*. He is a very nice young fellow, working at architecture, ~. son of Professor Stanley Butler of St Andrews, who is a nephew of Louisa, being a son of her brother George and of Josephine. He has been via Brittany and Angouleme, looking at wonderful architecture. His first stage from England was to Chartres, the finest, some say, of all cathedrals. We saw two old Bordighera friends yesterday and heard much of it from them. But this is all dull to you and, besides, it is written very badly, so I will stop short. With best loves to you all. Ever affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.


MY DEAR MILLY, I am late again in writing. The Frank Butlers and their last baby were here for the week-end, and there are two tempting houses to be had. I was to have gone to decide this very morning, but Eva is shut up in bed with a chill and I am rather afraid of the sunless cold of the day. I wish you had told me more of your impressions of Loxton, which T shall never see again. I often think of Erasmus, whose sterling qualities came out strongest towards the last. I have heard very favourably about the grave at Clermont-Ferrand, from Bob Butler, whose real Xtian name-I doubt, but he "answers" to Bob. He will be here next weekend and will tell me more, but anyhow the grave is well attended to by the gardener there whom I pay for doing it, and the rose bushes by it are described as very pretty. A lady resident at Clermont-Ferrand, who taught French to Eva and who came frequently and with whom we have corresponded, looks after it from time to time. I have been occasionally not over well and done nothing, but as soon as this scribble is finished I shall begin again upon Kantsaywhere. How do your birds thrive? I was touched by the confidence of a wren here, who hopped about my feet while I was seated in the garden in front of a dense hedge. She popped in and out but brought none of her belongings with her. Oh-this horrid coming winter! I am about 750 feet above sea-level and one of the two houses is about 50 feet higher and the other as much lower, bnt they are well sheltered and look due South. Best loves.

Ever very affectionately, FRANCIS GALTON.

* That of his wife, Louisa Galton (nee Butler).



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