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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   17 November 1881

Trin. Coll | Camb.

Nov. 17. 81

Dear Father

I have read enclosed agreement. Will you sign it without witness, & send it to Messrs. Paterson & Bloxam1

25 Lincolns Inn Field.


I shall go to London tomorrow or Sunday morng. & start to Glasgow on Sunday night.

I hear that Challis is on the point of death—& may have died last night for all I know.2 I suppose a month from now will see me Professor or not. I wish it had’nt happened now that I have got so much on my shoulders. I think I have a good chance. The electors are


Profrs. Adams


Thompson Trin

Masters Ferrers Caius

Swainson Chr.

V. C. Porter Pet.3

Cayley sails for America on 21st. dec., & I hope election may take place before then, as I am fairly sure of him. I may perhaps have to come back suddenly from Glasgow but I think not, as after sending out a notice of Candidature I shall have really have nothing to do & indeed the Prof. is hardly likely to be declared vacant within a week from now.

The amateur theatricals have been going on this last week. They played the School for Scandal & the Lady Teazle was a piece of the very best acting I ever saw;4 everyone is quite astounded at a man acting a woman so well & he has the extra advantage of being a great beauty & not a more masculine voice than one sometimes hears in a woman.

I shall not have to lecture (if I get it) until May or even next Oct.—& I shall prefer the latter as I shall want a great deal of preparation.

Your affec. son | G H Darwin


The enclosure has not been found. William Benjamin Paterson and Francis Richard Turner Bloxam were the solicitors handling the estate of Erasmus Alvey Darwin (see letter from G. H. Darwin, [29 August 1881]).
James Challis was Plumian Professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge.
George Gabriel Stokes, John Couch Adams, Arthur Cayley, William Hepworth Thompson (master of Trinity College), Norman Macleod Ferrers (master of Gonville and Caius College), Charles Anthony Swainson (master of Christ’s College), and James Porter (master of Peterhouse and vice-chancellor).
The play was performed at the ADC theatre in Cambridge (Cambridge Independent Press, 5 November 1881, p. 8). Lady Teazle is one of the main characters in the School for scandal, a comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, first performed in 1777 (ODNB). The part was played by John Robert Manners (Cambridge Review, 23 November 1881, p. 85).


Sends an agreement for his signature and forwarding to Patterson & Bloxham.

Hears that James Challis [Plumian Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge] is on the point of death. Believes he has a good chance to succeed him; sends a list of the electors.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Trinity College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 98
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13488,” accessed on 19 May 2024,