A hyper-Victorian aversion to (and obsession with) the erotic seems to have continued in Charles’s eldest surviving daughter, Henrietta. “Etty,” as she was known, edited her father’s books, taking her blue crayon to passages she considered inappropriate. […] Her prim enthusiasm for stamping out anything sexual wasn’t limited to the written word. She waged a bizarre little war against the so-called stinkhorn mushroom (Phallus ravenelii) that still pops up in the woods around the Darwin estate. Apparently, the similarity of the mushroom to the human penis was a bit much for poor Etty. As her niece (Charles’s granddaughter) recalled years later, “Aunt Etty … armed with a basket and a pointed stick, and wearing a special hunting cloak and gloves,” would set out in search of the mushrooms. At the end of the day, Aunt Etty “burn[ed them] in the deepest secrecy on the drawing room fire with the door locked—because of the morals of the maids.”

– Cacilda Jethá and Christopher Ryan, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (2010)


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