the everything desiderata

Yesterday we heeded Francis Galton’s advice on how to choose a suitable servant for your next intrepid journey. Today he helps us decide what to pack

It is impossible to make a list suitable for all the countries you may visit so I have selected as my example a desiderata for South Africa. In that country the traveller has to take everything with him, for there are no civilised  settlers, and the natural products of the country are of little value. Rude travel is likely to be experienced, as in North Africa, in Australia and in Southern Siberia. 


Two gimlets, a bit of beeswax, bit of Turkey gone, black silk, gut, scalpel, blunt pointed bistoury, forceps, an iron, turnscrews, nipple-wrench, spare nipples,


spare screw for cock, rings, buckles, inflatable pontoon, heavy ammunition for sporting purposes, protracors, nautical almanac, aresenical soap, blood-absorbing powder, butterfly net, pannikin, coffee-mill, 5 days of jerked meat, brandy, rum, presents for each black man…..


That latter item is of especial interest to Mr Galton

“The chief at Lake Ngami told Mr Andersson his beads would be of little use for the women about the place “already grunted like pigs” under the burden of those they wore which had been received from previous travellers.”


When it comes to doctors and medicine, he also lacks enthusiasm. 

“The traveller who is sick away from help, may console himself with the proverb, that “though there is a great difference between a good physician and a bad one, there is very little between a good one and none at all. The traveller will want Warburg’s fever-drops; mustard-paper for blistering; heartburn lozenges; lint; lunar-caustic, in a proper holder, to touch old sores with, and for snake-bites; a scalpel and a blunt-pointed bistoury, with which to open abcesses. Bush Remedies.–Emetics.–For want of proper physic, drink a charge of gunpowder in a tumblerful of warm water of soap-suds, and tickle the throat.


image of gunpowder horn found here

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 8:51 am  Comments (31)  

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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. also never forget to pack ‘bag of some powder to absorb blood, 2 lbs’ & ‘Five days of jerked meat’ *snigger * (wondering does ‘jerked’ have the same meaning around the world???)

    Great to see you back dear NM 😉

  2. the gunpowder is also a laxative… gives an entirely new meaning to the phrase “colon blow”.

  3. I hate this guy. I bet all of his crap was stuffed into carry-on bags and he hogged the entire overhead compartment.

    (Having said that, I also travel with extra nipples and a butterfly net).

  4. Really? Like pigs? Like my brother, he seems to be someone who is more of a home-body and shouldn’t stray past his back yard.

    • Your brother? have you blogged about him before? How many nipples does he have?

  5. I am intrigued by his laconic suggestion of lint. I suspect it is to stop bleeding, as well, if the two pounds of powder don’t work?

  6. i never travel without aresenical soap and lint. in a pinch, these can be mixed to seal a suitcase for flotation should a great flood appear.

    • I want to travel with you Sera (and your inner boy scout).

  7. The only religious advice I have ever adhered to was that of a priest and his notions on the importance of a corkscrew.

    I’m the only ex alter boy to take up the offer of the screw-toy fae a priest.

    May god have mercy upon his hole.

  8. spare screw for the cock? In case your regular cock malfunctions? Rings too? doesn’t sound like too bad a trip . . .

    • not to mention the buckles . . .

  9. I think he forget a clean hanky and some aspirin ….

  10. The whole “grunting like pigs” thing brings Mardi Gras to mind.

    • … and the movie “Deliverance”

      • Where the quote was “Squeal like a pig!”

        And he did! (poor old Ned never lived that role down I’m afraid)

        I actually own a nipple wrench, but have never purchased any spare nipples, 6 being just enough.

  11. Rude travel? Hahaha! Classic!

  12. I’d never have thought to pack spare nipples with the nipple-wrench. Genius.

  13. The whole point of this kind of advice is to stop people going on expeditions. Horrible things; well done Galton.

    • does that mean you’re not coming down under?

  14. It all sounds more like torture travel – I’d have hated to go on expeditions back in them thar days. Give me a (cute) modern Doc anyday and … loads of antibiotics. Just goes to prove men are mad!

  15. I want a banger!

    • in 6 days time Dolce

  16. I’m sure the good nurse could use a good tickle of her throat, much like I could use five days of jerked meat.

    • After five days of jerking most people need the majority of Mr. Galton’s medical kit.

      • Some would say those people need more practice…

  17. So that is why the Englishman travelled. To alleviate unemployment amongst the natives. How long would the train of bearers need to be? He hasn’t even started on clothing or food. As for the wine cellar – – –

  18. Why on earth would I want lint?

    • To plug your open abscesses?

      • True. I should have thought of that. LOL!

  19. Sweet mother of God somehow I missed this post. I love your commenters, they are a screwy lot.
    So happy to have you back, NurseMyra!
    Also: Rude Food makes me laugh every time I look at it.

  20. I’m sure Luke Cox will be very happy about that 😉

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