The word 'beagle' brings to mind three things, a scent hound thought to have been bred by crossing talbot hounds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talbot_%28dog%29 with Greyhounds, Charlie Brown's Snoopy, and the ship HMS Beagle on which Darwin sailed in 1831 on a nearly five-year-long voyage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_voyage_of_HMS_Beagle The date of departure was December 27th, on the third day of Christmas. http://www.cnrs.fr/cw/dossiers/dosdarwinE/darwin.html
Darwin was shocked by the treatment of slaves in the New World, probably due to his enlightened view that the different races (sub-sub-species?) of human beings (homo sapiens sapiens) are equally human and none is biologically superior to the other.
Extending Darwin's theory of evolution to other disciplines has given rise to a plethora of epistemic approaches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Darwinism including the Darwinian literary studies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinian_literary_studies
Storytelling is an activity that is unique to human beings as a species. http://youtu.be/eCzczq7z93w The spectrum of storytelling includes comic strips http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21568586-internet-has-u... as well as epic novels.
According to Darwin's journal, the voyage was delayed due to the sailors' Christmas drunkenness. http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F1925&viewtype=text&...
24th A blank & idle day.
25th Christmas day, in morning went to Church & found preaching there an old Cambridge friend Hoare. — Dined at 4 oclock with Gunroom officers, it does me good occasionally dining there, for it makes me properly grateful for my good luck in living with the Captain. — The officers are all good friends yet there is a want of intimacy, owing I suppose to gradation of rank, which much destroys all pleasure in their society. — The probability of quarrelling & the misery on ship board consequent on it produces an effect contrary to what one would suppose. — instead of each one endeavouring to encourage habits of friendship, it seems a generally received maxim |35| that the best friends soon turn out the greatest enemies. — It is a wonder to me that this independence one from another, which is so essential a part of a sailors character, does not produce extreme selfishness. — I do not think it has this effect, & very likely answers their end in lessening the number of quarrels which always must necessarily arise in men so closely united. — Let the cause be what it may, it is quite surprising that the conversation of active intelligent men who have seen so much & whose characters are so early & decidedly brought out should be so entirely devoid of interest. —
Christmas day is one of great importance to the men: the whole of it has been given up to revelry, at present there is not a sober man in the ship: King is obliged to perform duty of sentry, the last sentinel came staggering below declaring he would no longer stand on duty, whereupon he is now in irons getting sober as fast as he can. — Wherever they may be, they claim Christmas day for themselves, & this they exclusively give up to drunkedness — that sole & never failing pleasure to which a sailor always looks forward to. —
Monday 26th A beautiful day, & an excellent one for sailing, —the opportunity has been lost owing to the drunkedness & absence of nearly the whole crew. — the ship has been all day in state of anarchy. One days holiday has caused all this mischief; such a scene proves how absolutely necessary strict discipline is amongst such thoughtless beings as Sailors. — Several have paid the penalty for insolence, by sitting for eight or nine hours in heavy chains. — Whilst in this state, their conduct was like children, abusing every body & thing but themselves, & the next moment nearly crying. — It is an unfortunate beginning, being obliged so early to punish so many of our best men there was however no choice left as to the necessity of doing it. Dined in gun-room & had a pleasant evening.
27th I am now on the 5th of Jany writing the memoranda of my misery for the last week. A beautiful day, accompanied by the long wished for E wind. — Weighed anchor at 11 oclock & with difficulty tacked out. — The Commissioner Capt Ross sailed with us in his Yatch. — The Capt Sullivan & myself took a farewell luncheon on mutton chops & champagne, which may I hope excuse the total absence of sentiment which I experienced on leaving England. — We joined the Beagle about 2 oclock outside the Breakwater, — & immediately with every sail filled by a light breeze we scudded away at the rate of 7 or 8 knots an hour. — I was not sick that evening but went to bed early.