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throws one into a delirium of delight, and a beetle hunter is not likely soon to awaken from it, when whichever way he turns fresh treasures meet his eye. At Rio de Janeiro three months passed away like so many weeks. I made a most delightful excursion during this time of 150 miles into the country. I stayed at an estate which is the last of the cleared ground, behind is one vast impenetrable forest. It is almost impossible to imagine the quietude of such a life. Not a human being within some 'miles interrupts the solitude. To seat oneself amidst the gloom of such a forest on a decaying trunk, and then think of home, is a pleasure worth taking some trouble for.
We are at present in a much less interesting country. One single walk over the undulatory turf plain shows everything which is to be seen. It is not at all unlike Cambridgeshire, only that every hedge, tree and hill must be levelled, and arable land turned into pasture. All South America is in such an unsettled state that we have not entered one port without some sort of disturbance. At Buenos Ayres a shot came whistling over our heads ; it is a noise I had never before heard, but I found I had an instinctive knowledge of what it meant. The other day we landed our men here, and took possession, at the request of the inhabitants, of the central fort. We philosophers do not bargain for this sort of work, and I hope there will be no more. We sail in the course of a day or two to survey the coast of Patagonia ; as it is entirely unknown, I expect a good deal of interest. But already do I perceive the grievous difference between sailing on these seas and the Equinoctial ocean. In the “ Ladies' Gulf," as the Spaniard's call it, it is so luxurious to sit on deck and enjoy the coolness of the night, and admire the new constellations of the South. . . . I wonder when we shall ever meet again ; but be it when it may, few things will give me greater pleasure than to see you again, and talk over the long time we have passed together.
If you were to meet me at present I certainly should be looked at like a wild beast, a great grizzly beard and Aushing 1833.]
jacket would disfigure an angel. Believe me, my dear Watkins, with the warmest feelings of friendship,
C. Darwin to J. S. Henslow.
April 11, 1833. MY DEAR HENSLOW,
We are now running up from the Falkland Islands to the Rio Negro (or Colorado). The Beagle will proceed to Monte Video; but if it can be managed I intend staying at the former place. It is now some months since we have been at a civilised port; nearly all this time has been spent in the most southern part of Tierra del Fuego. It is a detestable place; gales succeed gales with such short intervals that it is difficult to do anything. We were twenty-three days off Cape Horn, and could by no means get to the westward. The last and final gale before we gave up the attempt was unusually severe. A sea stove one of the boats, and there was so much water on the decks that every place was afloat; nearly all the paper for drying plants is spoiled, and half of this curious collection.
We at last ran into harbour, and in the boats got to the west by the inland channels. As I was one of this party I was very glad of it. With two boats we went about 300 miles, and thus I had an excellent opportunity of geologising and seeing much of the savages. The Fuegians are in a more miserable state of barbarism than I had expected ever to have seen a human being. In this inclement country they are absolutely naked, and their temporary houses are like what children make in summer with boughs of trees. I do not think any spectacle can be more interesting than the first sight of man in his primitive wildness. It is an interest which cannot well be imagined until it is experienced. I shall never forget this when entering Good Success Bay
the yell with which a party received us. They were seated on a rocky point, surrounded by the dark forest of beech; as they threw their arms wildly round their heads, and their long hair streaming, they seemed the troubled spirits of another world. The climate in some respects is a curious mixture of severity and mildness; as far as regards the animal kingdom, the former character prevails; I have in consequence not added much to my collections.
The Geology of this part of Tierra del Fuego was, as indeed every place is, to me very interesting. The country is non-fossiliferous, and a common-place succession of granitic rocks and slates; attempting to make out the relation of cleavage, strata, &c., &c., was my chief amusement. The mineralogy, however, of some of the rocks will, I think, be curious from their resemblance to those of volcanic origin.
After leaving Tierra del Fuego we sailed to the Falklands. I forgot to mention the fate of the Fuegians whom we took back to their country. They had become entirely European in their habits and wishes, so much so that the younger one had forgotten his own language, and their countrymen paid but very little attention to them. We built houses for them and planted gardens, but by the time we return again on our passage round the Horn, I think it will be very doubtful how much of their property will be left unstolen.
When I am sea-sick and miserable, it is one of my highest consolations to picture the future when we again shall be pacing together the roads round Cambridge. That day is a weary long way off. We have another cruise to make to Tierra del Fuego next summer, and then our voyage round the world will really commence. Captain Fitz-Roy has purchased a large schooner of 170 tons. In many respects it will be a great advantage having a consort-perhaps it may somewhat shorten our cruise, which I most cordially hope it may. I trust, however, that the Coral Reefs and various animals of the Pacific may keep up my resolution. Remember
me most kindly to Mrs. Henslow and all other friends; I am a true lover of Alma Mater and all its inhabitants. Believe me, my dear Henslow, Your affectionate and most obliged friend,
C. Darwin to Miss C. Darwin.
Maldonado, Rio Plata, May 22, 1833.
The following business piece is to my father, Having a servant of my own would be a really great addition to my comfort. For these two reasons : as at present the Captain has appointed one of the men always to be with me, but I do not think it just thus to take a seaman out of the ship; and, secondly, when at sea I am rather badly off for any one to wait on The man is willing to be my servant, and all the expenses would be under £60 per annum. I have taught him to shoot and skin birds, so that in my main object he is very useful. I have now left England nearly a year and a half, and I find my expenses are not above £200 per annum; so that, it being hopeless (from time) to write for permission, I have come to the conclusion that you would allow me this expense. But I have not yet resolved to ask the Captain, and the chances are even that he would not be willing to have an additional man in the ship. I have mentioned this because for a long time I have been thinking about it.
June.--I have just received a bundle more letters. I do not know how to thank you all sufficiently. One from Catherine, Feb. 8th, another from Susan, March 3rd, together with notes from Caroline and from my father; give my best love to my father. I almost cried for pleasure at receiving it; it was very kind thinking of writing to me. My letters are both few, short, and stupid in return for all yours ; but I always ease my conscience by considering the Journal as a long letter. If I can manage it, I will, before doubling the Horn, send the rest. I am quite delighted to find the hide of the
Megatherium has given you all some little interest in my employments. These fragments are not, however, by any means the most valuable of the geological relics. I trust and believe that the time spent in this voyage, if thrown away for all other respects, will produce its full worth in Natural History; and it appears to me the doing what little we can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life as one can in any likelihood pursue. It is more the result of such reflections (as I have already said) than much immediate pleasure which now makes me continue the voyage, together with the glorious prospect of the future, when passing the Straits of Magellan, we have in truth the world before us. Think of the Andes, the luxuriant forest of Guayaquil, the islands of the South Sea, and New South Wales. How many magnificent and characteristic views, how many and curious tribes of men we shall see ! What fine opportunities for geology and for studying the infinite host of living beings! Is not this a prospect to keep up the most flagging spirit? If I was to throw it away, I don't think I should ever rest quiet in my grave. I certainly should be a ghost and haunt the British Museum.
How famously the Ministers appear to be going on. I always much enjoy political gossip and what you at home think will, &c., &c., take place. I steadily read up the weekly paper, but it is not sufficient to guide one's opinion; and I find it a very painful state not to be as obstinate as a pig in politics. I have watched how steadily the general feeling, as shown at elections, has been rising against Slavery. What a proud thing for England if she is the first European nation which utterly abolishes it! I was told before leaving England that after living in slave countries all my opinions would be altered; the only alteration I am aware of is forming a much higher estimate of the negro character. It is impossible to see a negro and not feel kindly towards him ; such cheerful, open, honest expressions and such fine muscular bodies. I never saw any of the diminutive Portuguese, with their murderous countenances, without almost wishing for Brazil to