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as having a philosophical mind; his was a mind especially given to detail, and not to generalising. Again, those who knew him intimately describe him as eating remarkably little, so that he was not “a great feeder, eating a goose for his dinner, as easily as other men do a partridge.' In the matter of dress he was conservative, and wore to the end of his life knee-breeches and drab gaiters, which, however, certainly did not, as Miss Meteyard says, button above the knee-a form of costume chiefly known to us in grenadiers of Queen Anne's day, and in modern wood-cutters and ploughboys.
Charles Darwin had the strongest feeling of love and respect for his father's memory. His recollection of everything that was connected with him was peculiarly distinct, and he spoke of him frequently; generally prefacing an anecdote with some such phrase as, “My father, who was the wisest man I ever knew, &c. .” It was astonishing how clearly he remembered his father's opinions, so that he was able to quote some maxims or hint of his in most cases of illness. As a rule, he put small faith in doctors, and thus his unlimited belief in Dr. Darwin's medical instinct and methods of treatment was all the more striking.
His reverence for him was boundless and most touching. He would have wished to judge everything else in the world dispassionately, but anything his father had said was received with almost implicit faith. His daughter Mrs. Litchfield remembers him saying that he hoped none of his sons would ever believe anything because he said it, unless they were themselves convinced of its truth,—a feeling in striking contrast with his own manner of faith.
A visit which Charles Darwin made to Shrewsbury in 1869 left on the mind of his daughter who accompanied him a strong impression of his love for his old home. The then tenant of the Mount showed them over the house, &c., and with mistaken hospitality remained with the party during the whole visit. As they were leaving, Charles Darwin said, with
** A Group of Englishmen,' p. 263.
a pathetic look of regret, “If I could have been left alone in that green-house for five minutes, I know I should have been able to see my father in his wheel-chair as vividly as if he had been there before me.”
Perhaps this incident shows what I think is the truth, that the memory of his father he loved the best, was that of him as an old man. Mrs. Litchfield has noted down a few words which illustrate well his feeling towards his father. She describes him as saying with the most tender respect, “I think my father was a little unjust to me when I was young, but afterwards I am thankful to think I became a prime favourite with him." She has a vivid recollection of the expression of happy reverie that accompanied these words, as if he were reviewing the whole relation, and the remembrance left a deep sense of peace and gratitude.
What follows was added hy Charles Darwin to his autobiographical 'Recollections, and was written about 1877 or 1878.
"I may here add a few pages about my father, who was in many ways a remarkable man.
“He was about 6 feet 2 inches in height, with broad shoulders, and very corpulent, so that he was the largest man whom I ever saw. When he last weighed himself, he was 24 stone, but afterwards increased much in weight. His chief mental characteristics were his powers of observation and his sympathy, neither of which have I ever seen exceeded or even equalled. His sympathy was not only with the distresses of others, but in a greater degree with the pleasures of all around him. This led him to be always scheming to give pleasure to others, and, though hating extravagance, to perform many generous actions. For instance, Mr. B-, a small manufacturer in Shrewsbury, came to him one day, and said he should be bankrupt unless he could at once borrow £10,000, but that he was unable to give any legal security. My father heard his reasons for believing that he could ultimately repay the money, and from [his) intuitive perception of character felt sure that he was to be trusted. So he advanced this sum, which was a very large one for him while young, and was after a time repaid. “I suppose that it was his sympathy which gave
him unbounded power of winning confidence, and as a consequence made him highly successful as a physician. He began to practise before he was twenty-one years old, and his fees during the first year paid for the keep of two horses and a servant. On the following year his practice was large, and so continued for about sixty years, when he ceased to attend on any one. His great success as a doctor was the more remarkable, as he told me that he at first hated his profession so much that if he had been sure of the smallest pittance, or if his father had given him any choice, nothing should have induced him to follow it. To the end of his life, the thought of an operation almost sickened him, and he could scarcely endure to see a person bled-a horror which he has transmitted to me—and I remember the horror which I felt as a schoolboy in reading about Pliny (I think) bleeding to death in a warm bath. .
"Owing to my father's power of winning confidence, many patients, especially ladies, consulted him when suffering from any misery, as a sort of Father-Confessor. He told me that they always began by complaining in a vague manner about their health, and by practice he soon guessed what was really the matter. He then suggested that they had been suffering in their minds, and now they would pour out their troubles, and he heard nothing more about the body. ... Owing to my father's skill in winning confidence he received many strange confessions of misery and guilt. He often remarked how many miserable wives he had known. In several instances husbands and wives had gone on pretty well together for between twenty and thirty years, and then hated each other bitterly; this he attributed to their having lost a common bond in their young children having grown up.
“But the most remarkable power which my father pos
sessed was that of reading the characters, and even the thoughts of those whom he saw even for a short time. We had many instances of the power, some of which seemed almost supernatural. It saved my father from ever making (with one exception, and the character of this man was soon discovered) an unworthy friend. A strange clergyman came to Shrewsbury, and seemed to be a rich man; everybody called on him, and he was invited to many houses. My father called, and on his return home told my sisters on no account to invite him or his family to our house ; for he felt sure that the man was not to be trusted. After a few months he suddenly bolted, being heavily in debt, and was found out to be little better than an habitual swindler. Here is a case of trustfulness which not many men would have ventured on. An Irish gentleman, a complete stranger, called on my father one day, and said that he had lost his purse, and that it would be a serious inconvenience to him to wait in Shrewsbury until he could receive a remittance from Ireland. He then asked my father to lend him £20, which was immediately done, as my father felt certain that the story was a true one. As soon as a letter could arrive from Ireland, one came with the most profuse thanks, and enclosing, as he said, a £20 Bank of England note, but no note was enclosed. I asked
my father whether this did not stagger him, but he answered 'not in the least.' On the next day another letter came with many apologies for having forgotten (like a true Irishman) to put the note into his letter of the day before. ... (A gentleman] brought his nephew, who was insane but quite gentle, to my father; and the young man's insanity led him to accuse himself of all the crimes under heaven. When my father afterwards talked over the matter with the uncle, he said, 'I am sure that your nephew is really guilty of ... a heinous crime.' Whereupon [the gentleman) said, 'Good God, Dr. Darwin, who told you; we thought that no human being knew the fact except ourselves!' My father told me the story many years after the event, and I asked him how he distinguished the true from the false self-accusations; and it was very characteristic of my father that he said he could not explain how it was.
“The following story shows what good guesses my father could make. Lord Shelburne, afterwards the first Marquis of Lansdowne, was famous (as Macaulay somewhere remarks) for his knowledge of the affairs of Europe, on which he greatly prided himself. He consulted my father medically, and afterwards harangued him on the state of Holland. My father had studied medicine at Leyden, and one day [while there) went a long walk into the country with a friend who took him to the house of a clergyman (we will say the Rev. Mr. A-, for I have forgotten his name), who had married an English woman. My father was very hungry, and there was little for luncheon except cheese, which he could never eat. The old lady was surprised and grieved at this, and assured
my father that it was an excellent cheese, and had been sent her from Bowood, the seat of Lord Shelburne. My father wondered why a cheese should be sent her from Bowood, but thought nothing more about it until it flashed across his mind many years afterwards, whilst Lord Shelburne was talking about Holland. So he answered, 'I should think from what I saw of the Rev. Mr. A-, that he was a very able man, and well acquainted with the state of Holland.' My father saw that the Earl, who immediately changed the conversation, was much startled. On the next morning my father received a note from the Earl, saying that he had delayed starting on his journey, and wished particularly to see my father. When he called, the Earl said, 'Dr. Darwin, it is of the utmost importance to me and to the Rev. Mr. A - to learn how you have discovered that he is the source of my information about Holland.' So my father had to explain the state of the case, and he supposed that Lord Shelburne was much struck with his diplomatic skill in guessing, for during many years afterwards he received many kind messages from him through various friends. I think that he must have told the story to his children; for Sir C. Lyell asked me many years ago why the Marquis of Lansdowne (the son or grand