The feeling that he ought to know people, and the difficulty he had in remembering faces in his latter years, also added to his discomfort on such occasions. He did not realise that he would be recognised from his photographs, and I remember his being uneasy at being obviously recognised by a stranger at the Crystal Palace Aquarium.
I must say something of his manner of working: one characteristic of it was his respect for time; he never forgot how precious it was. This was shown, for instance, in the way in which he tried to curtail his holidays; also, and more clearly, with respect to shorter periods. He would often say, that saving the minutes was the way to get work done; he showed his love of saving the minutes in the difference he felt between a quarter of an hour and ten minutes' work; he never wasted a few spare minutes from thinking that it was not worth while to set to work. I was often struck by his way of working up to the very limit of his strength, so that he suddenly stopped in dictating, with the words, "I believe I mustn't do any more." The same eager desire not to lose time was seen in his quick movements when at work. I particularly remember noticing this when he was making an experiment on the roots of beans, which required some care in manipulation; fastening the little bits of card upon the roots was done carefully and necessarily slowly, but the intermediate movements were all quick; taking a fresh bean, seeing that the root was healthy, impaling it on a pin, fixing it on a cork, and seeing that it was vertical, etc; all these processes were performed with a kind of restrained eagerness. He always gave one the impression of working with pleasure, and not with any drag. I have an image, too, of him as he recorded the result of some experiment, looking eagerly at each root, etc., and then writing with equal eagerness. I remember the quick movement of his head up and down as he looked from the object to the notes.
He saved a great deal of time through not having to do things twice. Although he would patiently go on repeating experiments where there was any good to be gained, he could not endure having to repeat an experiment which ought, if complete care had been taken, to have succeeded the first time-- and this gave him a continual anxiety that the experiment should not be wasted; he felt the experiment to be sacred, however slight a one it was. He wished to learn as much as possible from an experiment, so that he did not confine himself to observing the single point to which the experiment was directed, and his power of seeing a number of other things was wonderful. I do not think he cared for preliminary or rough observation intended to serve as guides and to be repeated. Any experiment done was to be of some use, and in this connection I remember how strongly he urged the necessity of keeping the notes of experiments which failed, and to this rule he always adhered.
In the literary part of his work he had the same horror of losing time, and the same zeal in what he was doing at the moment, and this made him careful not to be obliged unnecessarily to read anything a second time.
His natural tendency was to use simple methods and few instruments. The use of the compound microscope has much increased since his youth, and this at the expense of the simple one. It strikes us nowadays as extraordinary that he should have had no compound microscope when he went his "Beagle" voyage; but in this he followed the advice of Robt. Brown, who was an authority in such matters. He always had a great liking for the simple microscope, and maintained that nowadays it was too much neglected, and that one ought always to see as much as possible with the simple before taking to the compound microscope. In one of his letters he speaks on this point, and remarks that he always suspects the work of a man who never uses the simple microscope.
His dissecting table was a thick board, let into a window of the study; it was lower than an ordinary table, so that he could not have worked at it standing; but this, from wishing to save his strength, he would not have done in any case.