Mr. Darwin’s Working Day

  • 7-8 am – Walk and a solitary breakfast
  • 8-9:30 – Work in the study
  • 9:30-10:30 – Join family in the drawing room, look over the mail, read family letters and occasionally listen to a novel being read aloud
  • 10:30 – noon – Work in the study
  • noon -inspect plants in the greenhouse and then walk further, but still on the property, for a specified number of turns around the gravel path
  • Lunch
  • Read the newspaper.
  • Write letters
  • 3 pm – rest and nap, smoke cigarette, listen to his wife read a novel
  • 4pm – walk
  • 4:30 pm – back to work
  • 5:30 – read novels
  • 6:30 pm – dinner
  • After dinner – two games of backgammon with Mrs Darwin
  • 10 to 10:30 – retire to bed

“What rescued Darwin from the indolence that might so easily have settled upon a man with a good wife, an ample income, and a chronic illness were the daily discipline and the methodical habits of work – virtues he said had been instilled in him on the Beagle. Darwin must take his place alongside Anthony Trollope and the other great Victorians whose creativity has been impugned by their methodicalness, on the supposition that genuine creation can only be erratic. Unlike Trollope, however, who was methodical in work so as to be prodigal in leisure, Darwin’s methodicalness had no other intention than to extract from the day a few good hours of work.” – Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb

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