RECORD: Watkins, F. .07.18. [Recollections of Darwin.] CUL-DAR112.A111-A114 (Darwin Online, http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker 8.2008. RN1
NOTE:Letter on 2 leaves, 8 pages.
Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
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[some text] 'some text' is the conjectured reading of an ambiguous word or passage
[some text] 'some text' is a description of a word or passage that cannot be transcribed
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Text in small red font is a hyperlink or notes added by the editors.
Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
[Archival number, upper right] 111
[in another handwriting] F. Watkins
July 18 
Dear Mr Darwin
I send you two letters of your Fathers, which are all I can lay my hands on at present. With regard to his early life at school & at College it was just what you would expect. He was the same genial yet
thoughtful fellow full of conversation interspersed with long silences. With his wits not wandering, but always following some bird or insect or reptile.
Many is the walk I have had with him in the meadows between Cambridge & Grantchester & many is the wretched animal that he unearthed
[Archival number, upper right] 112
from a rotten willow tree or some other obscure hiding place.
I recollect that he introduced me to a beast wh. I have ever since held in holy hatred "Stapholinus olena" wh. was for some time my idea of a scorpion & there was another the remembrance of whose name is "Crux major" or something like it.
You may guess from this that my memory is very shaky, but I do not forget the long & very interesting conversations that we had about Brazilian scenery & tropical vegetation of all sorts. Nor do I forget the way & the vehemence with wh. he rubbed his chin when he got excited on such subjects & discoursed eloquently
[Archival number, upper right] 113
of lianas & orchids & other treasure of the almost impenetrable forest. It was curious to see how completely the child was father of the man in him. One thing in our Cambridge life you probably never heard of, which is, that your father was a
member of the "Gourmet Club" - so called not because its members were gluttons, but because they made a devouring raid on birds & beasts which were before unknown to human palate. Our menu was certainly a choice one but the appetite for
[Archival number, upper right] 114
strange flesh did not last very long & I think the Club came to an untimely end by endeavouring to eat an old brown owl which was indescribable! we tried hawk & bittern & other delicacies wh. I have forgotten. But this will give you an idea of the Club.
I wish I could remember more but you must accept this as an installment. I will write again if I can remember more.
At present Believe me, your father's old friend & yours if you will allow me to say so, for his I am
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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