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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Reginald Darwin   31 May 1879

Fern, | Buxton.

May 31 1879

My dear Cousin

I have again to thank you for your generous thought of me, & am very glad to add the letter which you send me to my collection—1 The quaint style & “respectability” of a young man’s correspondence in those days, even with a near relative, is interesting, & shows in strong contrast with the letter of an ordinary collegian of the present day, who would have had a “narrow squeak” of being “spun”2—who had “gone in” for Boating &c, & who found it “quite too awfully jolly”—

I seem to know there was a story about the Robber, but cannot call it to mind—3 I hope very much that your change has done you good—4

Believe me, with best regards, Yours | affecty & gratefully | Reginald Darwin


See letter to Reginald Darwin, 29 May [1879]. CD had sent Reginald Darwin a letter from Reginald’s father, Francis Sacheverel Darwin, addressed to his half-brother Robert Waring Darwin (1766–1848). Francis Sacheverel Darwin had been admitted to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1807 (Alum. Cantab.).
Spun: failing an exam (slang; OED).
CD was investigating different versions of an anecdote about Erasmus Darwin and a highway robber (see letter to Reginald Darwin, 29 May [1879], and Erasmus Darwin, pp. 64–5).
CD had been away from 6 to 26 May 1879 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1879.


Thanks CD for another letter [of his father’s].

Cannot call to mind the story about the robber [see Erasmus Darwin, pp. 64–5].

Letter details

Letter no.
Reginald Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 99: 156–7
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12072,” accessed on 29 September 2023,