RESIDENCE AT DOWN FROM SEPTEMBER 14, 1842, TO THE PRESENT TIME,
After several fruitless searches in Surrey and elsewhere, we
found this house and purchased it. I was pleased with the
diversified appearance of vegetation proper to a chalk district,
and so unlike what I had been accustomed to in the Midland
counties; and still more pleased with the extreme quietness and
rusticity of the place. It is not, however, quite so retired a
place as a writer in a German periodical makes it, who says that
my house can be approached only by a mule-track! Our fixing
ourselves here has answered admirably in one way, which we did
not anticipate, namely, by being very convenient for frequent
visits from our children.
Few persons can have lived a more retired life than we have done.
Besides short visits to the houses of relations, and occasionally
to the seaside or elsewhere, we have gone nowhere. During the
first part of our residence we went a little into society, and
received a few friends here; but my health almost always suffered
from the excitement, violent shivering and vomiting attacks being
thus brought on. I have therefore been compelled for many years
to give up all dinner-parties; and this has been somewhat of a
deprivation to me, as such parties always put me into high
spirits. From the same cause I have been able to invite here
very few scientific acquaintances.
My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life has been
scientific work; and the excitement from such work makes me for
the time forget, or drives quite away, my daily discomfort. I
have therefore nothing to record during the rest of my life,
except the publication of my several books. Perhaps a few
details how they arose may be worth giving.