RECORD: Sully, J. 1908. Reminiscences of The Sunday Tramps. The Cornhill Magazine, vols. XXIV, (January to June), pp. 79, 86.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 12.2019. RN1

NOTE: Introduction by Christine Chua:

The Sunday Tramps was started by Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) in 1879 and became the group's chief guide. It was set up primarily as a walking group, sometimes singing as they went, to ramble outside London. The number was limited to about ten. Emma Darwin recorded several visits by Mr. Stephen in 1878, 1881 and 1882. She recalled "On Sunday Jan 8. [1882] the "Sunday Tramps". C. was delightful to them & enjoyed their visit heartily. The Dyers were with us & he had much talk w. Dyer." (CUL-DAR210.8.36-41).

[page] 79


Among the well-meaning hosts who thus brought about breaches of discipline were Charles Darwin, at Down, and Professor Tyndall on Hindhead. We did our best without doubt to look at our ease when we were thus plunged back with travel stains thick upon us into the drawing-room; but in truth the ordeal was not a serious one, for the entertainer was himself one of the scribbling fraternity, and disposed to view Stephen's flock as also belonging to it.

[page] 86

Then there was the death of our host and our chief's revered teacher, Charles Darwin (April 1882). We spoke of him in low tones, and our chief told us of the grief which his dog showed

after the death. It was probably about this time that he told a good story of an old privileged servant of the Darwin family who on one occasion, when Darwin was ailing, went to her mistress and, after apologising for her boldness, ventured to suggest that her master would be better if he would only do something. She had noticed that he often stood a long time doing nothing in the garden, looking at the flowers. Our chief's reverent sorrow expressed itself in a letter to a fellow-tramp, in which, after speaking of the proposed burial in Westminster Abbey, he writes:

'To me it would seem more congenial to bury the dear old man in that quiet little

churchyard close to the house in which he lived and worked so long.


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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