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Darwin Correspondence Project

To [Susan? Darwin]   [1843 – 8 March 1846]1


Very glad I shall be to see my Father again. Dr. Hussey2 and Mr. Willott called yesterday afternoon: the Dr. talked grand nonsense, and abused in his way Dr. Arnott— “An excellent man, oh excellent, but no particular merit as a schoolmaster, many better scholars— I would not have sent my son to him for anything—not sound, not sound”—and then looking round with an awesome voice “and we all know what that will come to” He declared unsound religion was far worse than none at all. Poor little Mr. Willott could hardly get a word in sideways; I have got him to try to talk over old Price, about his atrocious doings with the village pool, as the Parish will not take it up, as it ought to do, as a matter of right. He tells me old Price has heard of the general discontent against him, and is very savage, and says everybody is trying to injure him, and he declared he would fill up part of the pool, but Mr. W. thinks he has made some impression on him. The Villas are certainly to be built. Really old Price is something like a rogue: there was a disputed or doubtful boundary; and Sir John3 to oblige Mr. Price sent Laslett4 to mark out and agree upon the boundary: after the stakes were driven in, to mark the place where Mr. Price’s new fence was to be, they were privately moved, so as to bend into Sir John’s field: this Mr. Laslett told me himself, and said he was never so ashamed of having had anything to do with such an affair. Sir John’s Land-Agent found out that the line had been altered, and ordered Mr. Price’s labourers off Sir John’s land, and I believe the fence is to be pulled down. Poor injured Mr Price tells everybody he cannot think who altered the fence, supposes the carpenters or Mr. Laslett must have done it!! All hopes of a Railway, except one 7 miles off which will run to Hungerford suspension Bridge (and so far, much better than Croydon) are over. With love to all.

C. D.

Will you ask my Father, whether he can recommend anything for old Martin (Mrs Comfort’s Father) a little thin, spare, active man of 75, apparently quite temperate, well in every respect, except excruciating Rheumatism in his shoulders almost every night. He has long so suffered.


The date range of this letter is limited by the death of John Willott, Vicar of Down, on 8 March 1846 (Alum. Cantab.). See, however, Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Susan Darwin, 3[–4] September 1845.
Thomas John Hussey, Rector of Hayes, Kent.
Isaac Withers Laslett, bricklayer in Down.


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.


Reports events at Down.

The "atrocious doings" of "Old Price". Price’s dispute with Sir John Lubbock over a boundary fence.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 154: 91
Physical description
C 2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13798,” accessed on 30 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2