get up at second hand


Senior Member
Can someone tell me the meaning of get up at second hand, in the following paragraph from a letter by Charles Darwin to J. D. Hooker:

There is wonderful ill logic in his [E. Forbes'] famous and admirable memoir on distribution, as it appears to me, now that I have got it up so as to give the heads in a page.
Depend on it, my saying is a true one, viz., that a compiler is a great man, and an original man a commonplace man. Any fool can generalise and speculate ; but, oh, my heavens !to get up at second hand 2nd New Zealand Flora, that is work."]
  • KHS

    Senior Member
    I can only guess from context. The original step is to compile. I wonder if "at second hand" doesn't mean to do analyses when you are not physically in the spot where the original work was done.
    Oh, and "get it up" has some sense of "do it."
    My thoughts on this are only speculation.
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