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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Hyacinth Hooker   [18 November 1877]1



My dear Lady Hooker

I must thank you for so kindly remembering my weakness for bananas, & they are such splendid ones that even a L.L.D. may be excused for enjoying them.2 There was a tremendous crowd & hooting & cheering at the Senate House yesterday, with a suspended monkey &c; but I believe the cheering was more than the groaning which I thought was all against me, but was mostly against an unpopular proctor.3

Everyone has been most cordial & I have been honoured far above my deserts.—

Pray thank Hooker for his little note, received just before we started

I do so hope that you will be able to come to us before very long.4 I can well believe that Hooker must have an awful accumulation of work, & it is fortunate that he has a hundred-horse power of working.—

Pray believe me | Yours very truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The date is established by the reference to CD’s honorary LLD ceremony at Cambridge on 17 November 1877 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). The Sunday after 17 November 1877 was 18 November.
Joseph Dalton Hooker used to send CD bananas from Kew; see Correspondence vol. 24, letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 December 1876 and n. 1.
The unpopular proctor was Alfred Edward Humphreys, junior proctor (letter from Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [17 November 1877] (DAR 219.1: 98)). The proctors, among other tasks, maintained discipline at the university.
The note has not been found. The latest extant letter from J. D. Hooker is that of 13 November 1877. There is no record of the Hookers visiting Down in 1877.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Having a splendid time at awarding of LL.D.

Thanks for bananas.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Hyacinth Symonds/Hyacinth Jardine/Hyacinth Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11238,” accessed on 16 May 2021,