To S. H. Haliburton 1 November 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Mrs. Haliburton
I daresay you will be surprised to hear from me. My object in writing now is to say that I have just published a book on the “Expression of the Emotions in Man & Animals”; & it has occurred to me that you might possibly like to read some parts of it; & I can hardly think that this would have been the case with any of the books which I have already published.2 So I send by this post my present book. Although I have had no communication with you or the other members of your family for so long a time, no scenes in my whole life pass so frequently or so vividly before my mind, as those which relate to happy old days spent at Woodhouse.3 I should very much like to hear a little news about yourself & the other members of your family, if you will take the trouble to write to me. Formerly I used to glean some news about you from my sisters.4
I have had many years of bad health & have not been able to visit anywhere; & now I feel very old. As long as I pass a perfectly uniform life, I am able to do some daily work in Natural History, which is still my passion, as it was in old days, when you used to laugh at me for collecting beetles with such zeal at Woodhouse. Excepting from my continued ill-health, which has excluded me from society, my life has been a very happy one;—the greatest drawback being that several of my children have inherited from me feeble health.
I hope with all my heart that you retain, at least to a large extent, the famous “Owen constitution”.—
With sincere feelings of gratitude & affection for all bearing the name of Owen, I venture to sign myself | Yours affectionately | Charles Darwin
My wife desires me to send her very kind regards to you.—
Sends a copy of Expression
and speaks fondly of his memories of Woodhouse and the Owen family.