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Letter 5561

Darwin, G. H. to Darwin, C. R.

[3 June 1867]

    Summary Add

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    Has asked a classics scholar about a word for Pangenesis. He suggests "atomogenesis".

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    Is getting in rather a fright about the coming exams.


Tr: Coll.


Dear Papa,

I have asked a good classic about some word for Pangenesis,—he seems to thing Atomogenesis wd be all right, from the classical point of view—& wd mean the genesis of ultimate particles, litterally of particles wh: cannot be subdivided. I found a word [G[kuttaros]G] wh: wd make Cyttarogenesis, the word meaning the cell of a plant—but then altho' used by a good author it is rare as might be expected, & of course wd not convey any meaning to anyone who was not a good classic. This man said he wd see if he cd find any more words but I have not asked him since. I do'nt think you cd get any common word for tissue or cells.

I shd say from the little notion I have about pangenesis that atomo-g. wd represent it better, unless you have particular objection to your cells or gemmules being called atoms i.e indivisible particles.— If I hear more I will write again.—

We have had some most goloptious weather since Mama &c were here— Yesterday I loafed about all day. I am getting in rather a fright about the May exam wh: begins next Friday, as it is the first one in which we shall have had really hard papers & if I don't do well in it I suppose I sha'nt in the Tripos. There was a concert in the town hall on Friday & Frank played in a duet with a piano; he had practised a good deal & I really thought played it very well— I was surprised to hear how loud the flute was when I was right at the further end of a very large hall.

Swettenham's eye got nearly alright at one time but he foolishly uncovered it too soon & it has relapsed again, tho' not so bad as before.— I shall only be at home for two days before I go to Paris & one of them I shall have to go to London to see the dentist, more's the bore.— I wish there was a little longer time betw: the end of this term & July, when I shall have to come back here.—

Yrs G H Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5561.f1
    The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1867], and by the reference to Emma's visit to George in Cambridge (see n. 4, below). In 1867, 3 June was the first Monday after 27 May.
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    f2 5561.f2
    CD had asked George for an alternative term to pangenesis (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1867]).
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    f3 5561.f3
    [G[kuttaros]] is used by Aristotle in his Historia animalium to mean the cell of a honey-comb (Liddell and Scott comps. 1996).
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    f4 5561.f4
    Emma Darwin visited Cambridge from 22 to 25 May 1867 (Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242)). It is not known who accompanied her. Goloptious: a slang or humorous term meaning `delightful', first appearing in print (as `galoptious') in 1856 (OED s.v. `goluptious').
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    f5 5561.f5
    Francis Darwin, like George, was an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.).
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    f6 5561.f6
    The reference is probably to Richard Paul Agar Swettenham, an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.).
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    f7 5561.f7
    George visited the Exposition universelle in Paris; his entrance ticket, valid for the week until 24 June 1867, is in DAR 219.12: 12.
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