618 Life and Letters of Francis Galton
months and he may have been failing. What a splendid life it has been; personal courage and adventure, admirable mental. and bodily endowments, and a powerful intellectual grip upon the problems and work of his time. And with all this no freaks-sane, humane and sociable.
Ever yours, CLIFFORD ALLBUTT.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. January 25, 1911.
DEAR PROFESSOR PEARSON, If you were thinking of giving little amusing incidents in Uncle Frank's life, I wonder if you would like to mention a neat dodge he had for seeing comfortably in a London crowd. He got a wooden brick with a hole in it through which he passed thick string, with a big knot at the bottom. This he carried under his arm*, and if a tiresome tall person stood before him, he would gently and slowly drop his brick and stand on it with one foot, and when it was time to go, draw it up again by its string, and no one noticed anything. Also you know the "Hyperscope," I suppose, which he used for the same purpose. You put your eyes to the two holes and the matinee hat drops a few inches, and you see the lecturer quite clearly; the opposite side being arranged with a sloping looking-glass let in. He used this last, I think, when Queen Victoria Side
came to open the Albert and Victoria Museum close by, Side to
and the whole of Brompton Road was crowded to see to- wards
her pass by. wards
I wonder if you would mention his extraordinaryh
good temper-it was quite a joke when he was a child, s ,6
boys at the school he went to used to stand round PY turer. him in a ring trying to irritate him, but always failed. This was such an advantage in a household, as it made
the servants love him; the Scotts at Bibury used to say
they would like to work for him for love, because he was so delighted with every single thing they did for him, and yet they all had a reverence for him and no servant was ever impertinent. He was just like a child in his jokes and always said he was a tiny bit jealous of Wee Ling in the house! Another thing you might like to say is how extraordinarily keen he was about things, everything was so intensely interesting to him, any workman in a foreign country he would have a long talk with and ask how he did this, that and the other, and then tell the man how clever he was; he would then take a lesson himself from the man, or child as the case might be. Just before he died, when almost too feeble to speak, he was given a prick of strychnine in the wrist; this interested him intensely and though we didn't want him to exhaust himself talking, he wouldn't let the doctor alone without having it clearly explained what the strychnine would do for him. He was most excited about the oxygen they gave him and wanted Edward Wheler to tell Dr Lyndon all about his experiments with it-this an hour or so before death.
By the bye, it is a, mistake to think, as some of the papers reported, that my uncle died in his sleep; he became unconscious about I of an hour before death ; Gifi looked in and Uncle Frank opened his eyes and smiled at him, and then never opened them again; he seemed in a sort of torpor. He looked so sweet and of such a good healthy colour after death, that I could not believe the doctor.when he said the heart was not beating. I kept candles burning by him till the coffin was taken from the house and visited him continually in the nights to pray for his soul, and he was buried with my crucifix on his breast; he looked so sweet in his coffin with his own dear smile on his face, it was sad to leave him in that box, but he looked just like himself to the last E. B.
42, RUTLAND GATE, S.W. February 26, 1911.
DEAR MR PERRY COSTE, Your kind letter has lain unanswered all this time simply because I have been so occupied, not because it was unappreciated. The sympathy of my Uncle's friends and admirers has been my great comfort.
How very curious that you should have been writing to him-you are indeed quite correct about his intellect, it was keen up to the day of his death, and when the doctor pricked [* Done up as a brown paper parcel. ED.]
To SIR GEORGE DARWIN, K.C.B., F.R.S.