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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [1 September 1875 or later]1


My dear Father

The proofs have come all square & I will attend to all you say.2 I havn’t done any more proboscis work as I wanted to be all ready in case M. Foster does want a note on snails, but I hope he won’t—3

A friend of Amys who was here yesterday had heard of orange suckers in Melbourne—4

It will be awfully jolly coming down to Southampton5

Yrs affec | Francis Darwin

We come by the train that gets to Northam at 4.3 on Wednesday6


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Francis Darwin, [31 August 1875 or later], which mentions proof-sheets of Variation 2d ed. The month and day are established by the reference to Francis’s impending arrival in Southampton on a Wednesday. CD was in Southampton from 28 August to 11 September 1875 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). During this time there were two Wednesdays, 1 and 8 September. However, if Francis had been planning to visit early in CD’s stay there would have been little point in CD’s sending him the proofs, so Francis probably arrived on 8 September. This letter could not have been written before 1 September or the reference to Wednesday would have been misleading.
Francis was working on the proof-sheets of Variation 2d ed. (see letter to Francis Darwin, [31 August 1875 or later]).
Michael Foster had suggested that Francis work on the histology of the snail’s heart; Francis’s note was published in the Journal of Anatomy and Physiology in 1876 (F. Darwin 1876a). Proboscis work: see n. 4, below.
Amy was Francis’s wife; the friend has not been identified. Francis published a paper on the proboscis of Ophideres fullonica (‘an orange-sucking moth’) in the October 1875 issue of the Quarterly Journal of the Microscopical Society (F. Darwin 1875b). Ophideres fullonica is a synonym of Eudocima phalonia (the Pacific fruit-piercing moth).
CD was in Southampton from 28 August until 11 September 1875 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Northam station was in Southampton; it was slightly closer to Bassett, where William Erasmus Darwin lived, than the central terminus.


Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.


Proofs have come. It will be jolly coming down to Southampton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 32
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10153F,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23