His reverence for him was boundless, and most touching. He would have wished to judge everything else in world dispassionately, but anything his father had said was received with almost implicit faith. His daughter, Mrs. Litchfield, remembers him saying that he hoped none of his sons would ever believe anything because he said it, unless they were themselves convinced of its trutha feeling in striking contrast with his own manner of faith.
visit which Charles Darwin made to Shrewsbury in 1869 left on mind of daughter who accompanied him strong impression of his love for his old home. tenant of Mount at time, showed them over house, and with mistaken hospitality remained with party during whole visit. As they were leaving, Charles Darwin said, with pathetic look of regret, If I could have been left alone in that greenhouse for five minutes, I know I should have been able to see my father in his wheelchair as vividly as if he had been there before me."
Perhaps this incident shows what I think is truth, that memory of his father he loved best, was that of him as old man. Mrs. Litchfield has noted down few words which illustrate well his feeling towards his father. She describes him as saying with most tender respect, I think my father was little unjust to me when I was young; but afterwards, I am thankful to think I became prime favourite with him." She has vivid recollection of expression of happy reverie that accompanied these words, as if he were reviewing whole relation, and remembrance left deep sense of peace and gratitude.
elder son, Erasmus, was born in 1804, and died unmarried at age of seventy-seven-. His name, not known to general public, may be remembered from few words of description occurring in Carlyle's Reminiscences (vol. ii. p. 208). truer and more sympathetic sketch of his character, by his cousin. Miss Julia Wedgwood, was published in Spectator, September 3, 1881.
There was something pathetic in Charles Darwin's affection for his brother Erasmus, as if he always recollected his solitary life, and touching patience and sweetness of his nature. He often spoke of him as Poor old Ras," or Poor dear old Philos." I imagine Philos (Philosopher) was relic of days when they worked at chemistry in tool-house at Shrewsburya time of which he always preserved pleasant memory. Erasmus was rather more than four years older than Charles Darwin, so that they were not long together at Cambridge, but previously at Edinburgh they shared same lodgings, and after Voyage they lived for time together in Erasmus' house in Great Marlborough Street. In later years Erasmus Darwin came to Down occasionally, or joined his brother's family in summer holiday. But gradually it came about that he could not, through ill health, make up his mind to leave London, and thus they only saw each other when Charles Darwin went for week at time to his brother's house in Queen Anne Street.
This brief sketch of family to which Charles Darwin belonged may perhaps suffice to introduce reader to autobiographical chapter which follows.
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