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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   29 September [1876]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Sept 29th

My dear W.

As you think it adviseable I will buy the 12 acres,—that is if the price is not very high,—as little bits often sell at an extravagant price as building sites.— But I leave this to your discretion to settle with Higgins—2 Come to some distinct understanding on this head. What odd little bits of land they are.

I am so glad that you stand the work tolerably well.—3 We intend, if Baby goes on well, to leave here on next Wednesday for Leith Hill & on Saturday Oct 7th to be with you.4 I wish you wd. be so good a man as to make out our route. We intend to drive to Guildford & to start early from L. Hill. Tell us a train & where we shall get out at Southampton.— You can write to L. Hill.—

We heard from Frank today that he does not wish to return soon, so that our visit will not thus be cut short. The return will be dreadful with the dismantling of his house.5 I think it will try him more than anything. Your mother has asked Mrs. Ruck to come back with him & help him in disposing of poor Amy’s clothes.6

My dear old fellow | your affectionate Father | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin, 28 September [1876].
See letter from W. E. Darwin, 28 September [1876] and n. 2. John Higgins was CD’s land agent. In his Investment Book (Down House MS) under the heading ‘Beesby Estate’, CD recorded the payment of £53 on 5 November 1876 with the note ‘deposit of 4 acres & cottage’; on 7 April 1877, he recorded a payment of £477 as ‘remainder of purchase’.
William was recovering from a concussion, but had returned to work (see letter from W. E. Darwin, 28 September [1876] and n. 7)
Bernard Darwin had been left in the care of CD and Emma Darwin following the death of his mother, Amy Darwin. After hiring a wet nurse and arranging for their daughter Henrietta Emma Litchfield and her husband, Richard Buckley Litchfield, to care for the baby, the Darwins left Down on 4 October 1876 and stayed with William from 7 to 20 October 1876 (letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, [29 September 1876] (DAR 239.23: 1.51); CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Francis Darwin had travelled to Wales for the burial of his wife, Amy, at Holy Trinity Church, Corris, near Machynlleth (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 11 September [1876] and n. 5). Francis and Amy had lived at Down Lodge since their marriage in 1874 (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1874).
Amy’s mother, Mary Anne Ruck, returned to Down with Francis on 24 October 1876 and left again on 3 November 1876 (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [24–5 October 1876] (DAR 219.9: 142); Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Discusses the purchase of some land;

plans to visit Southampton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 145
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10625,” accessed on 27 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24