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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/640

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sidered that all that he had learned of any value had been self-taught. He found an unnamed professor's lectures on geology and zoology so intolerably dull that they produced on him as their sole effect the determination never, so long as he lived, to read a book on geology, or in any way to study the science. Happily, this determination gave way, under associations with more genial geologists and in the presence of geological phenomena.

From Edinburgh he went to Cambridge, where he was a ready listener to Professor Henslow's lectures on botany, associated with a "sporting set," became interested in pictures and music (for which he had no ear), and was fascinated with the passion for collecting beetles. "I am surprised," he says, "what an indelible impression many of the beetles which I caught at Cambridge have left on my mind. I can remember the exact appearance of certain posts, old trees, and banks where I made a good capture."

Darwin mentions his friendship with Professor Henslow as a circumstance which influenced his career more than any other. The professor kept open house once every week, which Darwin frequented regularly, and they became companions on long walks, so that he was known as "the man who walks with Henslow." Through Henslow Darwin formed the acquaintance of several other eminent men, the privilege of having associated with whom suggested to him, looking back from many years later in life, that there must have been something in him a little superior to the common run of youths, or else they would not have taken to him. "Certainly," he says, "I was not aware of any such superiority, and I remember one of my sporting friends. Turner, who saw me at work with my beetles, saying that I should one day be a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the notion seemed to me preposterous."

Professor Henslow's friendship secured a recommendation of Darwin to Captain Fitzroy, who was about to start on the famous expedition of the Beagle around the globe, "as amply qualified for collecting, observing, and noting anything worthy to be noted in natural history." The elder Darwin objected to his son's going, chiefly because he was intending to become a clergyman, and the voyage might end in withdrawing him from that profession; and Darwin came very near being rejected by Captain Fitzroy on account of the shape of his nose. The father's objections were overcome by means of the representations of Darwin's uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, and Fitzroy's by further acquaintance. The voyage, the story of which is familiar, was on the whole happy and instructive, and was marked by Darwin as by far the most important event in his life, and one which determined his whole career; and to it he always felt that he owed the first real training or education of his mind. But one sequence of it is to be deplored: he returned a permanent invalid. Of the scientific aspect of the voyage he speaks: "I also reflect with high satisfaction on some of