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达尔文奢侈的大学生活

发表时间:2010/12/22字号:T|T

Archives shed light on Darwin's student days

A file photo of Charles Darwin.With someone to polish his shoes, make his bed and stoke the fire in his spacious rooms, Charles Darwin enjoyed the sort of pampered university life that today's debt-laden British students can only dream about.

  With someone to polish his shoes, make his bed and stoke the fire in his spacious rooms, Charles Darwin enjoyed the sort of pampered university life that today's debt-laden British students can only dream about.

  Two hundred years after his birth, academics have uncovered new details of his comfortable existence at the University of Cambridge before he embarked on the grueling five-year voyage that would transform science's view of the world.

  Six leather-bound ledgers unearthed in the university archives reveal how he lived in the most expensive rooms available to a student of his rank from 1828 to 1831.

  He hired a battery of staff to help him with the daily chores, including a scullion (dishwasher), a laundress and a shoeblack (someone who cleans shoes).

  A tailor, hatter and barber made sure he was well presented, while a chimney sweep and a coalman kept his fire going. He even paid five and a half pence extra each day to have vegetables with the basic ration of meat and beer at Christ's College.

  Darwin scholar Dr John van Wyhe, of the University of Cambridge, said little was known about the scientist's student life before his outgoings were found in the mainly hand-written ledgers detailing students' finances.

  "It is just wonderful to have a previously unknown insight into what Darwin was up to in this part of his life," he said. "These are really intimate details."

  The archives were published on the Internet on Monday at http://darwin-online.org.uk.

  Darwin's bill topped 636 pounds during his three years of study for a general bachelor of arts degree at Cambridge, a time he would later describe as "the most joyful of my happy life".

  That substantial sum would have been fairly typical for a student at Cambridge in the 19th century. The bills were paid by his wealthy father, Robert Darwin, a doctor.

  "Cambridge was full of well-to-do gentlemen living a pretty good life," van Wyhe said. "When you look at the books, you see he is just one of a hundred students or whatever. He is well off, but they are all well off."

  As well as the paid help, Darwin could also rely on the college "gyp", the Cambridge nickname for a valet or servant.

  With so much help and just two hours of mathematics and classics lectures each morning, there was plenty of time for socializing or private study, van Wyhe said.

  "He would be out shooting, collecting beetles, doing his scientific hobbies or visiting friends," he said. "They played cards and drank wine at night, just like students always have."

  (Agencies)

  有专人为他擦皮鞋、铺床以及照管宽敞房间里的壁炉——查尔斯·达尔文奢华的大学生活一定是当今受债务所困的英国学生们的梦想。

  在达尔文诞辰200周年之际,一些研究人员公布了他在剑桥大学读书期间奢侈生活的种种细节,在这之后,达尔文便开始了他艰苦的五年环球之旅,这五年对于他科学世界观的转变具有决定性影响。

  研究人员在大学档案资料中发现了记录当年达尔文(在上学期间日常开销)的六本皮革边账本,从这些账本中可以了解到从1828年至1831年达尔文在学校最昂贵的宿舍度过他大学生活的种种细节,当时这种宿舍只提供给他所属的富裕阶层。

  当时达尔文雇了很多人帮他打理日常事务,其中包括厨房佣人(洗碗工),洗衣女工和擦鞋匠。

  此外,还分别有一名裁缝、制帽师和理发师专门负责他的外表仪容。另有一名扫烟囱工人和送煤工人负责为他照看炉火。当时达尔文就读的基督学院供应的伙食只有肉和啤酒,而达尔文每天会多付5.5便士买蔬菜吃。

  剑桥大学达尔文研究专家约翰·范维尔博士称,这些以手写记录为主的帐本填补了我们对达尔文学生生活了解的空白。

  范维尔说:“能深入了解达尔文之前未知的这段生活经历是一件令人兴奋的事,这些都属于非常隐私性的细节问题。”

  这些账本于本周一在http://darwin-online.org.uk网站上公开。

  在剑桥大学攻读普通文学学士学位的三年时间内,达尔文的账目总额超过636磅。之后达尔文将这段时期描述为“一生中最快乐的时光”。

  然而如此庞大的生活开销在19世纪的剑桥大学其实相当常见。达尔文的这些开销都由他富裕的医生父亲罗伯特·达尔文“埋单”。

  范维尔说:“当时剑桥大学到处都是过着奢侈生活的富家子弟。你看看账本就会明白他只是众多富家子弟中的一员。他有钱,但这些人都很有钱。”

  也正因为此,达尔文可以雇佣大学“校工”。“校工”是当时剑桥大学里的男仆或佣人的别称。

  范维尔称,有这么多人服侍,而且每天上午只需上两小时的数学和名著课,所以达尔文有充足的时间来社交和自学。

  范维尔说:“他可以经常外出狩猎、搜集甲虫、研究科学爱好或者走访朋友。晚上他们也和其他学生一样打牌喝酒。

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