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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Aubertin   3 March [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham Kent. S.E.

March 3rd.

Dear Mr Aubertin

I congratulate you on your safe return after all your long wanderings in various parts of the world.— Should you ever be inclined to call here, I should be most happy to see you & so would Mrs. Darwin.— The best route is Orpington Station on the S.E. Ry. & the Station is 4 full miles from my house. I am sorry you had before your journey for nothing.2

Poor Miss Butler3 is dead— She fell down stairs & injured the vertebræ in her neck & died a most dreadful & prolonged death. Her sufferings were awful.

She once paid us a visit & the more we saw of her the more we liked her.4 You say nothing about your own health, which I hope is at last good— I cannot say much for myself as I am always ailing & with advancing old age cannot stand any excitement or fatigue. I can rarely talk for more than half an hour with anyone, but as long as I keep quiet I can do 2 or 3 or 4 hours of Scientific work almost every day—so I must not complain.— All my large family is fairly well—

Pray believe me | Yours very faithfully. | Ch. Darwin.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. J. Aubertin, 1 March 1871.
See letter from J. J. Aubertin, 1 March 1871. Aubertin reported going to Bromley station, which was not as near to CD’s home as Orpington station on the South East Railway line.
Mary Butler (see letter from J. J. Aubertin, 1 March 1871 and n. 5).
Butler visited Down House for a week in April 1860 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Invites him to visit.

Miss Butler is dead.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John James Aubertin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 25
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7539,” accessed on 20 April 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19