RECORD: Gretton, F. E. 1889. [Recollection of Darwin] Memory's harkback through half-a-century 1808 to 1858. London: Bentley and son, p. 33.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned & OCRed by John van Wyhe 1.2009. RN1

[page] 33

Among notables in and about Shrewsbury that I bear in mind, the first naturally is Dr. Darwin, because I believe that he twice saved my life. In the first instance, mainly through the rough seasoning, I had inflammation of the lungs; some years afterwards I had a dangerous bout of scarlet fever. Dr. Darwin was a remarkable man in many respects, personally of huge bulk, with a very squeaky voice. His close carriage was what was called a sulky, and was like Juvenal's—'lectica Mathonis plena ipso.' It was said that his professional income exceeded that of any medico out of London; he was called to such great distances. He had wonderful skill, not only in the cure, but in the discernment of disease; and yet all his knowledge of anatomy was derived from plates; he could not face dissection. He must have been attractive in any society, but to us lads he was simply delightful. His elder son, Erasmus, I was intimate with both at school and college; he had more than average talent, studied in the medical schools of Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, and Paris, and after all I believe he never practised. His brother, Charles, was a good deal junior to me. I just remember him—a dullish apathetic lad, giving no token of his after-eminence.

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

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