CD comments on lectures and lecturers at Edinburgh.
My dear Caroline,
Many thanks for your very entertaining letter, which was a great relief after hearing a
long stupid lecture from Duncan on Materia Medica— But as you know nothing
either of the Lecture or Lecturers, I will give you a short account of them.—
I will be a good boy, and tell something about Johnson again (not but what I
am very much surprised that Papa should so forget himself as to call me, a Collegian in
the University of Edinburgh, a boy.) he has changed his lodgings for the third time, he
has got very cheap ones, but I am afraid it will not answer, for they must make up by
cheating.— I hope you like Erasmus' official news, he means to begin every
letter so.— You mentioned in your letter that Emma was staying with you, if
she is not gone ask her to tell Jos. that I have not succeeded
in getting any [titanium], but that I will try again. Tell Katty
and Susan I shall be very grateful if they will write to me, it is so pleasant receiving
letters; and I hope, although our correspondence has begun late, you will send me many
more nice affecting letters about dear little black nose. Erasmus thinks I shall have
more pleasure in seeing it than all the rest of the families put together. You seem to
hold the same opinion with regard to my dear little nephew.— I want to know
how old I shall be next Birthday. I believe 17, & if so I shall be forced to go
abroad for one year since it is necessary that I shall have completed my
I remain your af— dear Caroline, | C. Darwin.
Love to Papa & tell him I am going to write to him in a few days—
- f1 20.f1CD refers to Andrew Duncan, the younger. A more favourable estimate of him is cited in Ashworth 1935. For a summary of the sources and background of all that is known of CD's student days at Edinburgh, see Shepperson 1961.
- f2 20.f2Thomas Charles Hope.
- f3 20.f3The copy reads `Lezars', which Francis Darwin changed to `Sizars' (ML 1: 7). However, CD almost certainly referred to the surgeon John Lizars, later Professor of Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, author of Lizars 1822.
- f4 20.f4In the Autobiography, p. 47, CD says of Alexander Monro, the third: `[He] made his lectures on human anatomy as dull, as he was himself, and the subject disgusted me. It has proved one of the greatest evils in my life that I was not urged to practise dissection, for I should soon have got over my disgust; and the practice would have been invaluable for all my future work. This has been an irremediable evil, as well as my incapacity to draw.'
- f5 20.f5Little manuscript material survives from CD's student days at Edinburgh. Some of his lecture notes of 1825--6, on medicine and chemistry, are preserved in DAR 5, which also contains an account of a zoological walk to Portobello. DAR 129 contains a diary of zoological and botanical observations made in 1826. A notebook in DAR 118 of zoological observations made in March 1827 records his observations on Flustra and Pontobdella muricata which he reported to the Plinain Natural History Society of the University of Edinburgh on 27 March 1827 (not 1826, as CD states in the Autobiography, p. 50). See Collected papers 2: 285--91 for a complete transcription by P. H. Barrett of the notebook, and Ashworth 1935, pp. 102--5, for an account of the Plinian Society meetings and CD's membership, drawn from the minute-books of the Society.
- f6 20.f6Josiah Wedgwood III.
- f7 20.f7A blank space was left in the copy after the word `any'; `titanium' was inserted by Francis Darwin.