Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/178

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Writing of student days at King's College where, or at the home of Professor Partridge, he came in contact with such men as Dasent, Daniell, Todd, Smee and Wheatstone he says:

The signs of advance were all about and in the air. The microscope had rather suddenly attained a position of much enhanced importance; it was now mounted solidly, with really good working stages and with good glasses. Powell was the principal maker of it, and a Powell's microscope was an object almost of worship to advanced students.

The impression from his first work in Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1840 are worth quoting for those interested in education,

I soon became conscious of the power and thoroughness of the work about me, as of a far superior order to anything I had previously witnessed. At the same time I wondered at its narrowness, for not a soul seemed to have the slightest knowledge of, or interest in, what I had acquired in my medical education and what we have since learnt to call Biology. The religious dogmas were of a more archaic type than I had latterly learnt to hold. I thought that just as the medicals wanted the thoroughness of the classicals and of the mathematicians, so these wanted at least an elementary knowledge of what was familiar to the medicals. Great and salutary changes have long since been introduced, and the above criticism, which was perfectly just at the time, is now, I believe and trust, almost wholly out of date.

It is perhaps fortunate that in 1840 Galton found his knowledge of chemistry and German hardly sufficiently advanced for him to profit by Liebig's teaching in Giessen, for the spirit of travel was strong within him and he "determined to throw that plan over, to make a dash and go as far as my money allowed." This dash carried him from Giessen to Linz, thence by rowboat to Vienna, by steamer down the Danube, overland to the Black Sea, to Constantinople, Smyrna, Syra, Trieste and home by way of northern Italy and Switzerland. "This little expedition proved to be an important factor in moulding my after-life. It vastly widened my views of humanity and civilization, and confirmed aspirations for travel which were afterwards indulged."

The next lesson in travel was a journey up the Nile, where by good fortune one Arnaud Bey urged him not to be content with the attainments of ordinary tourists but to strike overland by camel in the caravan of the Sheikh of the Bisbari Desert to Berber.

A caravan yields so many strange experiences and affords so many occasions of mutual helpfulness and of friendships, that it is easy to understand the importance of the Hadj pilgrimage in hunting the Moslems. I have often wished that something of the sort could be revived among ourselves, such as the famous Canterbury Pilgrimage of Chaucer, but the religious motive for real pilgrimages is generally wanting in Protestant countries. The congresses of large itinerant societies like the British Association, in some few respects may be considered as taking the place of pilgrimages, but they want the long hours and days of open-air life, hard exercise and leisure.

Prom Berber a boat was hired to work up to Khartum and from thence a short excursion was made up the White Nile. Later his path