To W. E. Darwin 1 March 1
My dear old Willy
We were very glad to get your note this morning with so good an account of your examination, & of things in general. I trust the rest of the half-year—may go as quickly as this first week. What a curious thing infection is, yesterday Backy & Lizzie2 plainly had got the mumps, & this was about as long since you had them, as your attack was from the time the Hensleighs3 were here. They have had it very slightly, even slighter than you, Etty & Georgy.—
I am glad you like the life of Napoleon; I thought it very interesting:4 I should be very glad to see you with more taste for reading; for by reading only can a man avoid being ignorant. A person, also, who reads on many subjects is interested in so many more things, & can talk so much more pleasantly than another who is ignorant: and the pleasure of knowing things always goes on increasing the more one knows.—
Georgy has learnt to slide & enjoys it very much, & goes down by himself to the village-pond: but this day’s heavy snow will stop sliding & your skating. Have you got a pretty good pond to skate on? I used to be very fond of playing at Hocky on the ice in skates. The weather is so bad, that I do not know when we shall be able to go & see the Crystal Palace building.5
Goodbye my dear Boy | Your affectionate father | Charles Darwin
Your note was well written
Discusses WED’s affairs and events at Down.
Writes of the benefits of reading.