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Darwin Correspondence Project


To Mary-Anne Herbert   [5 May 1842]

12 Upper Gower St


My dear Mrs Herbert

I am very much obliged to you for so quickly sending me Mr Mears answer— it has destroyed some pleasant castles in airs—but house-hunters are doomed to suffer the greatest misfortunes & ought to be the most patient of men.— It is very obliging of Mr Mears’ being willing to bear my wishes regarding a house in mind.— Should Herbert chance to have any further communication, it would be worth while to inform him, that I consider five miles from a Railway Station as the length of my tether.

With many thanks believe me dear Mrs Herbert | Yours very truly | C. Darwin

My wife left me on Tuesday with children for Staffordshire1 so that in the language of Boz2 I am a widow & an orphan.


On Tuesday, 3 May 1842, Emma travelled to Maer (see Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 36).
Charles Dickens’ Sketches by ‘Boz’.


Acknowledges Mrs H’s disappointing answer to his quest for a house in the country. Five miles from a railway station is "the length of my tether".

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Herbert, M. A.
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
American Philosophical Society
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 628,” accessed on 21 October 2016,