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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   6 March 1881

4 Marlborough Place | NW

March 6 1881

My dear Darwin

If all the sea & fresh water fishes together had tumbled on to my head I could not have been more astonished than I was by your letter & its inclosures or rather by the inclosures for I am never astonished by any amount of kindness in your letters—1

Do you recollect that I jokingly told you long ago after I had been to see Rich that I had half a mind to try & cut you out?2 Upon my life I feel almost as if I had defrauded you, in spite of the innocence of my heart and if it had been decent I should like to have requested to Mr Rich that he had better let the house go along with the rest to you & yours.

Don’t you covet it, like Naboth’s vineyard?—3 You will be forgetting that I am a man of peace now, & be for putting me “in the forefront of the battle”.—4

I have written to Mr. Rich and asked him to let my wife & me pay him a visit sometime this spring—5 Wife is immensely pleased—and bless her, has no doubt that Mr Rich is the one of the few men of discernment now living— It is really wonderfully kind & thoughtful of him—but he is a tough old gentleman & has a good chance of outlasting his legatee—who grieves to confess the fact that he is unmistakably growing older

I sometimes think I must have a row with somebody just to see if there is any of the old stuff left!

With all our loves | Ever Yours | T H Huxley


See letter to T. H. Huxley, 5 March 1881; CD had enclosed a section of Anthony Rich’s letter of 1 March 1881 and all of Rich’s letter of 4 March 1881. Rich added a codicil to his will bequeathing his house to Huxley.
In his letter to CD of 28 December 1878 (Correspondence vol. 26), Huxley had described his visit to Rich and wrote that he had ‘abstained from pointing out that there was another person to whose merits & deserts he appeared to be shamefully insensible!’
Huxley alludes to the biblical story in which Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to King Ahab (1 Kings 21).
In the forefront of the battle: 2 Samuel 11:15. Huxley alludes to the story of King David’s putting Uriah in the front line so that he could marry Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, after Uriah was killed.


Astonished by Rich’s act. Has written to him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Marlborough Place, 4
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 9: 209)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13074,” accessed on 24 February 2024,