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Darwin Correspondence Project

To S. R. S. Norton   23 November [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov, 23d

My dear Mrs. Norton

I am very much obliged for your kind & pleasant letter & for your present of the little book about Goethe.2 It is written by a very good zoologist, & I shall be glad, to look at it, but the German language is a sore grief & trouble to me.—

My sons enjoyed themselves wonderfully in America, & they met with really extraordinary kindness from many persons.—3 When I asked them what on the whole they liked best there, they answered without a moment’s doubt “our stay at the Ashburners4 & the great valleys in California”,—which seems an odd couplet. We heard much of all the fun & laughter they had with your sister & brother; & they heartily congratulated themselves that they had the good fortune to be invited to the house.—5

I am glad to hear you are comfortably settled at Dresden, & as for dullness forgive me for saying that with your party it is not to be believed.—

Pray give my respect & kind remembrances to Mrs. Norton,6 & good wishes to all your party, & I remain | My dear Mrs Norton | Yours sincerely & obliged | Ch Darwin

P.S. My wife has just given me a good scolding, & I always tremble before her just severity, for not having given you her affectionate remembrances.—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from S. R. S. Norton, 20 November [1871].
CD had received a pamphlet by Oscar Schmidt, ‘War Goethe ein Darwinianer?’. See letter from S. R. S. Norton, 20 November [1871].
Francis Darwin and George Howard Darwin visited America between August and October 1871 (see letter to Asa Gray, 16 July [1871]).
Anne and Grace Ashburner. See letter from S. R. S. Norton, 20 November [1871] and n. 6.
See letter from S. R. S. Norton, 20 November [1871]. CD refers to Sara Sedgwick and Arthur George Sedgwick.
Catherine Eliot Norton was Susan Norton’s mother-in-law.


Reports how his sons enjoyed their trip to America.

Is glad SRSN is settled in Dresden.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Ridley Sedgwick Norton
Sent from
Source of text
Houghton Library Harvard University (Charles Eliot Norton Papers, MS Am 1088: 1594)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8083,” accessed on 23 April 2018,

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