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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [16 January 1881]1

Basset, | Southampton.


My dear Father,

Thank you for your letter and for writing for papers to obtain entrance to the Geolog: Soc: I shall be very glad if my subscription is a help to them.2

I will read your note carefully again before I go to Winchester to look at the ledges—3 I am very glad to read, and so is Sara4 Leslie Stephen’s nice letter and memorandum; and it is a very satisfactory reply. I felt pretty certain that he would not approve of the flyleaf method, and quite expected that he would advise to do nothing.5

I return the letter and paper registered, as it would be a great misfortune to lose it. I am extremely glad that nothing need be done, it would have been such a triumph for the wretch B. I am very sorry to hear of poor old Leo. I hope he has managed to reach Down by this time6

We have a most severe frost— On Friday night Hankinson’s7 Thermometer registered 812°— and mine at 10.20 today was 23°. Please tell Mother that alas her puppy died on Friday, of distemper I fancy. I have only one left, a she. I will look out for a spaniel papa next time.

Sara is pretty well and her holiday has done her good.8 She sends her love.

Your affect Son | W. E. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 January [1881]. The Sunday following 14 January 1881 was 16 January.
See letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 January [1881]; CD was preparing a certificate for William’s application for membership of the Geological Society of London.
See letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 January [1881] and n. 5. CD was trying to determine whether worms had played a role in the formation of horizontal ledges on steep grassy slopes.
Leonard was ill in London (letter from Emma Darwin to Sara Darwin, [13 January 1881] (DAR 219.1: 140)). According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Leonard next visited Down on 5 and 6 February 1881.
Robert Chatfield Hankinson was partner in William’s bank in Southampton.
Sara had spent time at Down after Christmas (letter from Emma Darwin to Sara Darwin, [13 January 1881] (DAR 219.1: 140)).


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 writing for papers to enter Geological Society. Will return Leslie Stephen’s letter. Has had a severe frost. Emma’s puppy died.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Basset, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 100)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13023F,” accessed on 16 July 2024,