MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
CHAPTER I PARENTAGE
Birthplace-Grandparents-Dr. Erasmus Darwin-Lunar Society
Captain Barclay Allardice-Mrs. Schimmelpenninck
UST before thee arrival of the letter in which my
publisher asked me to write the memories of
my life, I happened to be reading Shakespeare's Henry IV. and laughing over Falstaff s soliloquy after the gross exaggerations by justice Shallow of his own youthful performances. It contained the sentence, di Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to, this vice of lying 1 Feeling the truth of his ejaculation, I headed the first page of my memorandum-book with those words as a warning, knowing how difficult it is to be veracious about long-past events, threads of imagination insinuating themselves among those supplied by memory and becoming indistinguishable from them.
Many old notebooks and letters are, however, in my possession which have helped me; but my two latest surviving sisters, whose minds were sure storehouses of family events, and to whom I always referred whenever I wanted a date or particulars of a long-past fact, are now both dead, the one at the