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Letter 1F

Darwin, C. R. to Dear Friend

1 Jan 1822

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    Erasmus Alvey Darwin has rheumatism; his sisters complain of his bad temper but CD thinks him very good tempered. CD has received a new cabinet. [This is the first of six entries written in a "Memorandum book" comprising four sheets folded into a gather and sewn together in book form. The entries are in the style of letters addressed to an unnamed friend and are dated between 1 and 12 January 1822, shortly before CD's thirteenth birthday. As they were written straight into the memorandum book, it is clear that they were never sent through the post, but were either to an imaginary recipient, or intended to be read by someone in the household, possibly CD's youngest sister, Emily Catherine Darwin (Catherine).]

Transcription

January 1st. 1822

My Dear friend

I think it is a most abominable thing, the minute Erasmus went out of the room, they began abusing him for being out of temper, you must know that he is not well, and that he hath got the rheumatism, and very pale, and particularly Maryan   of couse you know how peevish Maryane is when she is unwell   but just the reverse I think Erasmus very good humered   to day he came back from enquiring about his ticket, on purpose, because he thought I should like it, the reason was because he was going to draw for Cam bell Bible, and I must now conclude

so therefore your

Note this day I received this ye cabinet

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1f.f1
    This is the first of six entries written in a `Memorandum book' comprising four sheets folded into a gather and sewn together in book form. The entries are in the style of letters addressed to an unnamed friend and are dated between 1 and 12 January 1822, shortly before CD's thirteenth birthday. As they were written straight into the memorandum book, it is clear that they were never sent through the post, but were either to an imaginary recipient, or intended to be read by someone in the household, possibly CD's youngest sister, Emily Catherine Darwin (known as Catherine; see this volume, Supplement, letters to Dear Friend, 2 January 1822, n. 3, 12 January 1822, n. 6; see also Browne 1995, pp. 11--12, 14). Catherine is known to have been close to CD as a child, and the absence of any reference to her in the letters is best explained by her being the intended recipient. Another suggested recipient is John Price (Browne 1995, p. 28). CD and Price were both pupils at the Royal Free Grammar School, Shrewsbury, but would have been home on holiday during the period when the letters were written. The school year comprised two terms with two seven-week holidays in June and July and December and January (Oldham 1952, p. 158).
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    f2 1f.f2
    CD refers to his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, his sister Marianne Darwin, and probably to one or more of his other sisters, Caroline Sarah Darwin, Susan Elizabeth Darwin, and Emily Catherine Darwin. According to CD's later reminiscences, Erasmus suffered ill health from childhood (Autobiography, p. 42).
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    f3 1f.f3
    The words `a big lie' are interlined at this point in a different hand.
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    f4 1f.f4
    The reference is probably to an edition of the English translation of the New Testament by George Campbell (G. Campbell trans. 1789; G. Campbell et al. trans. 1818).
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    f5 1f.f5
    The words `Note … cabinet' are written between the first and second entries in the `Memorandum book' and are separated from them by faint lines. This suggests that CD kept the memorandum book in a new box, possibly the same cabinet in which he later kept mineral samples (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from E. A. Darwin, 14 November 1822).
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