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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   1 December [1880]1


Dec 1

My dear Father,

I shall soon manage a day for Beaulieu—. We have a Yankee cousin of Sara’s coming—and I can do him & the worms at the same time.2

I am extremely glad the book is going off so well.—3

We think of going to see the Roman Villa at Brading I of Wight on Friday   Is there any point you wish observed, I am told there are worms as big as eels there!.4

Sara sends her best love, she is quite aware what a half bred Darwin she is, but she has the decency to be delighted when any review speaks properly of you

My love to Mother. Please tell Bessy5 I will enquire about what she wants. | Your affect son | W. E Darwin

We were much interested in Mothers letter about Ld. Derby—6

Please say I shall be very glad of the Book if L.H.P do not want them.7

We had a smart dinner party last night—including Mrs. Fleming8


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 30 November [1880].
CD had asked William to collect some worm-castings from Beaulieu Abbey, Hampshire, in his letter of 30 November [1880]. The Cistercian abbey, founded in 1204, was a popular tourist attraction. Sara Darwin’s cousin has not been identified.
After a positive review of Movement in plants appeared in The Times, 20 November 1880, p. 9, CD’s publisher had printed a further 500 copies (see letter from R. F. Cooke, 26 November 1880).
Ruins of a Roman villa at Brading on the Isle of Wight had been discovered in 1879; a description of the uncovered remains appeared in the Antiquary (Nicholson 1881).
A letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [28 November 1880] (DAR 219.9: 253) described a visit from Lord and Lady Derby (Edward Henry and Mary Catherine Stanley) and the various topics discussed.
The Darwins visited Leith Hill Place, Surrey, the home of CD’s sister Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, from 11 to 15 December 1880. It is unclear what book William refers to; he would already have received a copy of Movement in plants, since his name is on CD’s presentation list (see Appendix IV).


Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.

Nicholson, Cornelius. 1881. The Roman villa near Brading. Antiquary 3: 3–8.


Will soon manage to go to Beaulieu. Is glad the book is going off well. Is thinking of going to the Roman Villa at Brading on the Isle of Wight.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bank, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 84)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12880F,” accessed on 1 October 2023,