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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Farrer   26 August 1877

Abinger Hall, | Dorking. | (Gomshall S.E.R. | Station & Telegraph.)

26 Aug./77 | Sunday

Dear Mr Darwin,

No worm casts yesterday. This morning after the tremendous rain I have counted 40 holes: the rain having washed them clear— 4 if not 5 are in the wall: which is the less surprising as the water does not lie on the top of the wall, whilst it does lie on the solid part of the concrete and in that there are no holes.— One worm I saw come out, lifting a lump of soil & leaving a hole.

What a pleasant week we had—1 The sky itself wept at your parting

Sincerely yours | T H Farrer

I shall not be able to journalise the worms this week—

CD annotations

1.2 40] underl red crayon
1.2 4 … wall:] double underl, scored red crayon
1.4 solid part] double underl red crayon
1.4 in … holes.—] ‘I noticed this’ interl blue crayon; caret red crayon
2.1 What … week— 4.1] crossed pencil


CD stayed at Abinger Hall from 20 to 25 August 1877 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). In Earthworms, p. 179, CD mentioned that he was present on 20 August 1877 when excavations were begun in a field at Abinger to uncover the ruins of a Roman villa. CD described the observations made by Farrer over the next seven weeks on the action of worms, and recorded the information from this letter in ibid., p. 186.


Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.


Counted 40 worm-holes after rain; four or five in the wall.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st baronet and 1st Baron Farrer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Abinger Hall
Source of text
DAR 164: 82
Physical description
ALS 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11112,” accessed on 23 July 2024,