Darwin Letter Friday


The collector bug strikes early.

At the age of twelve, in addition to being stinky, Charles Darwin reminds himself that if he is going to be a great naturalist, he’ll need a place for his stash.

That’s right, he’s building a fort.

In Summer, 1823, he says, the work must start!

January 12th, 1822–

remember next summer to make two cave one for warlike instruments, the othe<r> for relicks. Note spoon, old spear knife squirt if it can be found, and the name cut on the ash tree over the seat in the bank by the nut tree I beliefe that is all ove[r] the ief a plan of a machine

Read carefully to see Darwin’s letter notation. When you see the red flag, come to Charles!

a pin drove in the bark on which a piece of wood can turn up and down, aa the piece of wood, bb two pieces of string going down [over] the bank, cc two weights insted of springs, dd two pieces of coulored rag or ribbon e the tree on whi<ch> I sit, g the bank, f [one word illeg] when the red rag is pulled up come to me, when the other lie still.

Papa told me that Fridy perhaps I should go to Walcut to see all the beutiful things there but he told me not to set my mind upon it so therefore your affectionate pug whom you gave a good cough.

Remember this time ask Downs, the drums shall beat, the fifes shall play— and it is all for the sake of——

I went to Athelton where I say Miss reynols and I like her very much I think her very pretty but I do not know she was a friend of Mariane and Caroline he[r] mothe[r] is half a quaker and I like her very murch, I believe Miss Reynols is going to be marriend to a clergyman, and has been under trial 1 2 3 4 or 5 year before Mrs Reynols would let her may him, and he has given some living, but I am not shure about this I like Mr and Mrs W Cluide very much indeed particularly Mr Clude but I dont thing Erasmus does for your must know he was with me indeed I dont think Erasmus liked it all together but I am [oky] I did, I think Miss and young Master Clude much mor[e] [talkative]

Dig that awesome diagram, which would have appeared “over the lief” (leaf).

Now, when I was young, I had something cool going. My dad built me an awesome clubhouse on sunken legs next to a big pine tree. I strung a rope way up into the tree, and put a bucket on it. With a second rope, I could haul stuff back and forth. You know, warlike stuff such as crab apples for pelting my brother. Oh, and big sticks.

But I didn’t have a signaling system for my troops. That’s hardcore.

Thanks for all your great comments last weekend! I promise, I’ll keep a closer watch this time.

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