The Clerk in the Country (with Covid)

Friday 8th April 2022

Notes & jottings

Recovering from Covid and waking every morning to radio news of gloom and tragedy from around the world, I was heartened last week by a report from Cambridge that two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks, presumed stolen, had been returned to the University Library after an absence of twenty years.

Honesty, it seems, is not a thing of the past. Nor, I suspect, is the absent-minded professor.  The culprit was wise to put right his error anonymously (and the pink gift bag was a nice touch).  Many years ago I came into possession of a second-hand desk in the otherwise empty drawers of which were two library books, almost as long overdue as Darwin’s notebooks.  I thought it best to return them, but the librarian was not as pleased to see them as I’d expected, and it was only with persistence and determination that I came away without a fine, regretting not having put them through the letterbox under cover of darkness and wearing a balaclava in case of CCTV.

Anyone interested in seeing the notebooks of a famous scientist may like to explore the following link.  No pink gift bags or balaclavas are required.