Sunday, October 30, 2005

Darwin, the human!

Thanks to Pharyngula, I learnt about this special issue on evolution in the magazine Natural History. I found this passage from the article Darwinism today: evolution in action,
Charles Darwin’s wife, Emma, was terrified that they would be separated for eternity, because she would go to heaven and he would not. Emma confessed her fears in a letter that Charles kept and treasured, with his reply to her scribbled in the margin: “When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cryed over this.”
and this description of Darwin of his daughter Annie (who passed away when she was ten),
Her dear face now rises before me, as she used sometimes to come running down stairs with a stolen pinch of snuff for me, her whole form radiant with the pleasure of giving pleasure. . . . She would at almost anytime spend half-an-hour in arranging my hair, “making it,” as she called it, “beautiful,” or in smoothing, the poor dear darling, my collar or cuffs, in short in fondling me. She liked being kissed; indeed every expression in her countenance beamed with affection & kindness, & all her habits were influenced by her loving disposition. . . .

All her movements were vigorous, active, & unusually graceful: when going round the sand-walk with me, although I walked fast, yet she often used to go before pirouetting in the most elegant way, her dear face bright all the time, with the sweetest smiles. . . . [In the last days of her illness,] when so exhausted that she could hardly speak, she praised everything that was given her, & said some tea “was beautifully good.” When I gave her some water, she said “I quite thank you”; & these, I believe were the last precious words ever addressed by her dear lips to me. . . . We have lost the joy of the Household, and the solace of our old age.
from Darwin's shrink moving.


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