Letter icon
Letter 35

Darwin, E. A. to Darwin, C. R.

10 Oct [1826]

    Summary Add

  • +

    Medical studies in London. Compares lectures and students at London and Edinburgh. Comments on the cost of dissection.


4 Chapel St West | Curzon St.

Oct 10th

Dear Bobby

You must excuse this dirty outside sheet of paper which has been polishing a table for the last week as it is the only one that I have, & I write having nothing to say as you profess to like receiving any thing that pretends to be a letter.

At ye demonstrations this morning who should I see walk in but Smith the pleasant looking clerk of Graham in the hospital, & at the Anatomical Lecture he came & sat by me and entered into conversation. He said that he was come to London & knew nobody & that knowing my face so well he felt quite an old acquaintance I said I felt just the same & so we struck up a friendship & went and dined together at a french house and afterwards went for a lounge to Armstrong who gave I think the very best lecture I ever heard here he met with to his great joy an Edinburgh friend who also seems a very decent sort of person. Long ye friend of Hodson is I find Surgeon to the Lock Hospital & also that he was a pupil of Laenec which may give him some right to give himself airs. Smith & I did not quite agree about Dr Graham he called him a charming person, of all epithets in the world, but I made him agree with me in the detail that a great deal of his practice was bad & his manners harsh.

There certainly must be some radical difference in the London & Edinburgh lectures, for I can attend four hours in the day without the least weariness: the students are no comparison better behaved than on the other side of the Tweed, the other day Mayo got animated about some old bones & kept on for an hour & a half without the slightest symptom of impatience being shown. I have not heard a single scrape & excepting at the close of ye opening lecture no applause. I went & lionisized St Bartholomew with Moor which is really worth seeing it appears to be so well conducted. He seems quite at home & very well acquainted with the patients, one poor dropsical wretch in particular to my astonishment who seemed more dead than alive & had been tapped that day got quite amused by listening to him & complained that he made her wish to laugh.

The dissection is going on languidly there is but one subject come in yet & there are six engaged before the one I have put my name down to: they are cheap compared with Edinburgh being £8"8 which however when it comes to be multiplied three or four times is a heavy draw back.

Let me hear your Edinburgh plans when you have fixed them.

Good Bye.—

P.S. Lataika Snuff is all the go: shall I send you a packet per coach?

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 35.f1
    CD's class cards, preserved in Edinburgh University Library, include one for Clinical Lectures by Dr [Robert] Graham and Dr [William Pulteney] Alison.
  • +
    f2 35.f2
    Probably John Armstrong, the elder.
  • +
    f3 35.f3
    Théophile-René-Hyacinthe Laennec. Leading French physician and anatomist.
  • +
    f4 35.f4
    Herbert Mayo. He and Caesar Henry Hawkins bought the Great Windmill Street School of Anatomy from Charles Bell in 1826.
  • +
    f5 35.f5
    Latakia, a Syrian tobacco from Latakia.
Maximized view Print letter