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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   5 [November 1858]1



My dear Gulielmus

I am not surprised at Furniture &c coming to £27; though the papering will be a dead loss.— I enclose draft for £30, which must be backed by you.2 Try for discount.— A man of business like you will of course carefully keep receipts.— Please acknowledge receipt of draft.— You will now have £12 or £15 in hand, which I hope will last for some little time. But I well know the first term must be extra expensive.

Lizzie was perfectly delighted with your note & we all laughed heartily at it.—3 It set her off twittering in first-rate style.

We are all rather extra well & jolly here, & the Boys are going to have 5s. worth of fireworks & a bon-fire.—4 Tell us whether you attend the discussions at Union Club: shall you ever get up pluck to speak? I hope you may. I heard a funny & authentic story at Moor Park of a very nervous man, who knew he shd. have to return thanks at a public dinner; so made a long speech & learnt it by heart; but when he got up he ⁠⟨⁠forgot⁠⟩⁠ to speak out & ⁠⟨⁠section excised⁠⟩⁠ action & gesticulations, which ought to have accompanied the speech: the audience were so good natured, that whenever he made much action, they cheered him; & he never found out that he had been quite silent for the whole quarter of an hour; & the next morning the non-speaker said to my friend that he ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ had got through


Dated by an entry in CD’s Account book relating to the cost of William’s furniture (see n. 2, below).
There is an entry dated 5 November 1858 for the sum of £30 for ‘William’ in CD’s Account book (Down House MS). CD had sent William a draft for £15 on 3 November 1858, explaining how William should countersign it (letter to W. E. Darwin, [3 November 1858]).
Elizabeth Darwin was 11 years old.
The anniversary of the discovery of the ‘gunpowder plot’ to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 is traditionally celebrated on 5 November with fireworks and bonfires.


Discusses matters relating to WED’s first term [at Cambridge].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 33
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2353,” accessed on 2 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7