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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   10 October [1826]

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 Graham1 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 Armstrong2 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 Laenec3 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 Mayo4 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. Lataika5 Snuff is all the go: shall I send you a packet per coach?


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


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

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chapel St West, 4
O OC 12 1826
Source of text
DAR 204: 17
Physical description
AL AL 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 35,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1