RECORD: Ramsay, Andrew Crombie. 1848. [Recollections of Darwin]. In: Geikie, Sir Archibald. 1895. Memoir of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay. London: Macmillan, pp. 123, 130, 276-77.

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe 11.2010. RN1

NOTE: Part of this recollection is reprinted in Thomas Glick, What about Darwin? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2010.

[page] 130

One of the pleasantest interludes of Ramsay's life this winter in London was a visit paid by him to Darwin's hospitable home in Kent, where Lyell and his wife, Owen and Forbes were likewise guests. It was a brief sojourn from Saturday to Monday, of which he records: —

13th February [1848], Sunday. — Rose betimes, had a walk in the gardens, and came to breakfast. Set to work after, and read and thought over Hopkins's views as shown in Jameson's Journal, and when found made a note. After lunch, [Edward] Forbes, [Richard] Owen, Lyell, and I had a walk in Sir John Lubbock's park, and saw a number of things pleasant to look upon, in spite of a tendency to drizzling. Nice cozy chat, too, before and after dinner. Darwin is an enviable man — a pleasant place, a nice wife, station neither too high nor too low, a good moderate fortune, and the command of his own time. After tea Mrs. Darwin and one of her sisters played some of Mendelssohn's duets, etc. etc., all very charming. I never enjoyed myself more. Forbes came to my room before going to bed, and gave me a sketch of his coming lecture on generic centers. Lyell is a much more amusing man than I gave him credit for. Mrs. Lyell is a charming person — pretty, lively, and full of faith in, and admiration of, her husband.

[page] 123

18th February [1848].—Anniversary of Geol. Soc. Did not get down from my lecture till after the (Wollaston) medal had been given to, and acknowledged by, Dr. Buckland. Sir Henry's address passed off very well. I sat mostly next Darwin.

[page] 276

For some years past Ramsay had been brooding upon what Darwin had so well enforced—the imperfection of the geological record. He was struck by the extraordinary gaps in the succession of organic remains, even where there was no marked physical interruption of the continuity of sedimentation. And

[page] 277

he connected these gaps with geographical changes of which no other trace had survived. He had made a communication on this subject to the American Association at the Montreal meeting, which had attracted considerable attention among those present.

Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891), Scottish geologist.

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