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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [25–7 November 1878]1

My dear Father,

I have had no success with horse or spanish chestnuts. I touched two quite dry with caustic but it spread round. I think the actual cautery would be better.2

Kerner translated by Ogle has come but I kept it for my lecture.3 Also Suburban Sketches by W. D Howells—a set of American things—he gives no address.4 I forward the engraving by Krausse & I wish you joy of correcting the press.5 O. tropoeoloides has begun to sleep a little now.6 I hadn’t anything to say before you went to Frankland so I didn’t say it.7 I have tried almost comple darkness once, but will again

Yrs affec | F. D.

Ubbadubba8 enjoyed his tea party in my room very much & handed me the crust of his bread & butter with a solemn “For dada”


The date range is established by the period of CD’s stay at 4 Bryanston Street, London from 19 to 27 November 1878 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)), and by the reference to CD’s visit with Edward Frankland (see n. 7, below).
William Ogle’s translation of Anton Kerner’s Die Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste (The protective measures of flowers against uninvited guests; Kerner 1876) appeared as Flowers and their unbidden guests (Ogle trans. 1878). See letter to William Ogle, 17 August 1878. Francis gave a lecture on 9 December 1878 at the London Institution titled ‘Self-defence among plants’ (see letter to Francis Darwin, [21 November 1878], n. 6).
The American writer William Dean Howells evidently sent CD a copy of Suburban sketches (Howells 1871); no correspondence with Howells has been found.
‘Krausse’ is possibly Ernst Krause. The engraving has not been identified. Krause may have asked CD to check the biographical sketch of CD written by William Preyer for the February 1879 issue of Kosmos, which celebrated CD’s 70th birthday (Preyer 1879).
Oxalis tropaeoloides is a synonym of O. corniculata var. atropurpurea (creeping wood sorrel) (see letter from Francis Darwin, [before 22 November 1878] and n. 3.) See also letter from Francis Darwin, [23 November 1878].


Howells, William Dean. 1871. Suburban sketches. New York: Hurd and Houghton.

Kerner, Anton. 1876. Die Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste. In Festschrift der K. K. Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien. Vienna: K. K. Zoologisch-Botanische Gesellschaft; Braumüller.

Preyer, William. 1879. Charles Darwin. Eine biographische Skizze. Kosmos 4 (1878–9): 339–50.


He has had no success with horse or Spanish chestnuts.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 41
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11768H,” accessed on 4 June 2023,