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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. E. Litchfield   21 [March 1874]1


My dear Etty

You are a good dear girl to take so sweetly all the horrid bother of correction.2 You         3 me much. I have taken all your corrections, except one small one. I am glad you have not much more, though parts are dreadfully written.— I was just recovering from my longest illness. When I corrected my M. S & suppose I had not strength enough to correct, as I cannot otherwise understand my horribly bad writing.4

Do not think of comparing old & new text, except references as pages often get printed wrong.— You need not compare my M.S. additions as the sense will show whether they are correct.— It would save me some trouble, if you were to          your corrections, when not too long, on margin of sheets in pencil & then your mother could ink them in, & never mind giving your reasons as this must cost you more trouble. Again I say you are a good dear girl & your husband is so good a man, that I do not believe that he will grudge me this assistance.5 The Descent half kills me.—6

Your affect Father | C. Darwin

There is to be a German Translation of          & I hear of every scrap that I have ever published!! The publisher says he has sold 17000 copies of my          books, so like a goose he thinks he cannot weary the German public7


The month and year are established by the reference to the proposed German collected edition of CD’s works, first mentioned in the letter from J. V. Carus, 15 March 1874.
Henrietta was reading the proof-sheets of Coral reefs 2d ed., which had been printed in early March (see letter to J. V. Carus, 8 March [1874]); CD mentioned that she was helping with this work in his letter to J. D. Hooker, 27 [March 1874].
The copyist left blank spaces in the text when unable to read CD’s hand.
CD had first suggested a second edition of Coral reefs to the publishers Smith, Elder and Co. in December 1873 (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter to Smith, Elder & Co., 17 December [1873]). CD’s illness had begun on 26 August 1873, when he suffered a partial loss of memory for twelve hours and ‘numerous bad sinking fits’ (see Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Henrietta Emma Litchfield’s husband was Richard Buckley Litchfield.
CD had begun preparing Descent 2d ed. on 20 November 1873 (Correspondence vol. 21, Appendix II); it was completed by 4 April 1874 (see letter to John Murray, 4 April 1874).
The sales figures of the German translations of CD’s books, and the plan for a German collected edition of all his works, were sent to CD by Julius Victor Carus (see letter from J. V. Carus, 15 March 1874). Eduard Koch of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung began publishing CD’s collected works in German from 1875 (Freeman 1977).


Proof-correcting [of 2d ed. of Coral reefs?].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 153: 84
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9324,” accessed on 19 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22