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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   3 June [1859]1


June 3d.

My dear William

I enclose Weiss receipt sent here by mistake, I suppose, & which you ought to have ticketed & kept safe.—2

Georgy has been home for 4 or 5 days, as he had an ulcerated throat. Yesterday he was in great triumph for he caught 7 specimens of a large clear-winged Sphinx in the big wood, & he got some other good things. I have now five Entomological sons! for Skimp has begun with great energy to collect Beetles.—3

I get on most slowly with proof-sheets & shall not have finished at soonest in 10 weeks; confound the proofs. We are got into a nice hobble about horses: Parslow & Jones went to London & bought a fine horse for 40 guineas & now we all suspect, that it was a regular conspiracy & that the horse was regularly unsound: anyhow he is now lame in two legs. It is lucky that we have not parted with the black. It is a horrid bore & is, I fear, 30£ lost.—4 This morning we had present from Mr Innes of charming little Terrier puppy.

I saw a week or two ago in Times the death of Mr Wharton, 59 years old, at Mitcham.—5 Catherine left us 2 days ago:6 we said nothing about you, for she does not start till the 20th & then travels slowly to N. of Scotland; so that you would have had to have returned almost as soon as you got there. So you can go round by Rugby, if you think fit.—7

I am glad you went to Gamblingay: I remember one most pleasant excursion there; but the common has all been enclosed since my day.8

I do not improve a bit at Billiards & at Moor Park, could not play at all.—

I shall be very anxious to hear how you get on at the Examination9 & tell us as soon as you know when you will be here for your fortnight before the Lakes.—

My dear fellow | Your affect | C. Darwin


The year is given by CD’s reference to purchasing a new horse (see n. 4, below).
Probably a bill from the firm of John Weiss & Son, 62 Strand, London, which specialised in surgical instruments, knives, razors, and other medical and scientific implements (Post Office London directory 1858).
Skimp was a nickname for Horace Darwin, then aged 8. For the boys’ interest in entomology, see the letter to the Entomologist’s Weekly Intelligencer, [before 25 June 1859].
The purchase of the new horse for £42 was recorded in CD’s Account book (Down House MS) on28 May 1859. Samuel Jones was employed by CD as a stableman.
Henry James Wharton, vicar of Mitcham, Surrey, died on 15 May 1859. He had been William’s tutor before he entered Rugby School (Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. E. Darwin, 24 [February 1852]).
Emily Catherine Darwin left Down on 2 June 1859 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
See letter to W. E. Darwin, [5 May 1859], for William’s plans for his summer vacation.
Gamlingay, near Cambridge, was rich in plants and insects. John Stevens Henslow took his botanical class there every year (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter to J. S. Henslow, 18 July 1833).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Reports events at Down.

Is busy with proofs [of Origin];

is anxious to hear how WED does in his examinations.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 45
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2467,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

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