should not like

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Senior Member
While Charles Darwin was staying in the Isle of Whight, leaving his house in Down after the scarlet fever had broken there, he wrote a letter to his friend, Hooker saying:

Henslow, also, has written to me, proposing to come to Down on the 9th, but alas, I do not return till the 13th, and my wife not till a week later ; so that I am also most sorry to think I shall not see you, for I should not like to leave home so soon. I had thought of going to London and running down for an hour or two to Kew.

I wonder if he wanted to say by should not like to "not being able to", for I don't think he used "like" in the sense of "prefer.
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Is there something earlier in the text in which Hooker had suggested when and where they might meet? It seems to me that "like" is used in the sense of preference rather than inability.
    I read it as saying he will return home to Down on the 13th, but then does not immediately want to leave again to go and see Hooker. He probably wants to relax for a few days first, and perhaps wait for his wife, and so on.
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