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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   17 October [1876]1

Bassett | Southampton

Oct. 17th

My dear Hooker

As Dyer is away I write just to say that the Catasetum & Acropera which were lent me & which were very useful, will be returned from Down on the 20th, as Acropera has failed to set pods.—2 I hear that the Yarkand Pigeon skins have arrived there safely, which you announced to me in the note which you like a good man wrote to me.—3 We return home on the 20th & leave William almost recovered from his concussion & very happy in his nice new house.—4 Early next week we expect & dread Frank’s return from N. Wales, & I expect seeing his old home will make his grief return cruelly.5 He has been wise enough to force himself to work on my proof-sheets & his own paper.6 In fact he has a craving to work all day long. I hope & expect that he will soon get over the dread which he has had of seeing any new person & in this respect his residence in so quiet a place as Wales has been bad for him. I shall hear some news of you this evening, as George is coming here from Abinger.7

I do hope that you & Mrs. Hooker will be able to come to us for a Sunday at Down this autumn. It is a long time since I have seen you, & we want to renew our acquaintance with Mrs. Hooker.8 Goodbye my dear old friend | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 October 1876.
CD had asked William Turner Thiselton-Dyer for specimens of Catasetum and Acropera for his work on Orchids 2d ed. (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 1 September 1876 and nn. 1 and 3).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 October 1876 and n. 1. The pigeon skins were collected in Yarkand, China (see letter to George King, 19 September 1876 and n. 1).
CD stayed at William Erasmus Darwin’s house in Southampton from 7 to 20 October (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). William had suffered a concussion in a riding accident (see letter to Andrew Clark, [late June 1876]).
Frances Darwin had been in Wales with his in-laws, the Ruck family, following the death of his wife Amy. After their marriage in July 1874, Frances and Amy had moved into Down Lodge (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1874).
Francis was experimenting with the common or fuller’s teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris, a synonym of D. fullonum; see letter from Francis Darwin, [1 June 1876] and n. 2). The results were published in F. Darwin 1877b. He had assisted with corrections to the proof-sheets of Cross and self fertilisation (see letter to Francis Darwin, 16 September [1876]).
George Howard Darwin was evidently staying at Thomas Henry Farrer’s house, Abinger Hall, in Surrey.
Hooker and his wife Hyacinth visited Down House on 2 December 1876 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.

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.


Frank, who has been reclusive and very hardworking, is returning from Wales after a period of mourning for Amy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 423–4
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10644,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

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