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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   7 July [1859]1


July 7th

My dear William

We were very glad to get your note with so good an account of all things. I think you will have a very pleasant time there & see the Lakes well & from all that I have heard I believe there is nothing more beautiful in all England. Do look for glacial action & if you see anything let me hear. If by any chance you shd. take a fancy to geology, I believe Prof. Sedgwick & some one published a little joint book on the geology of the Lake district;2 but perhaps the subject would be too difficult without some little preliminary study & you have subjects enough in hand. We miss you much here, as you always make us jolly. Especially you are much missed, as we have the House full of young ladies, viz Effie, Dot, Eva & Angus & Tim.3 (The latter looks more like a Christian; poor lad, but I fear is very weak in mind, though so good-tempered & obliging. N.B do not leave this letter about, I forgot Erny4 being with you.) The Langtons & Uncle Eras. & Susan are coming, so we shall soon have House-full.5 Georgy seems to have had a jolly visit at Hartfield & returns tomorrow.6 I have got for him a marvellous yellow, but battered Clear-wing, just like a Hornet or big wasp.—

Mamma went up yesterday & brought down two such patterns, of the exact colour of mud, streaked with rancid oil, that we have all exclaimed against them; & I have agreed to take anything in preference & we have settled on a crimson flock-paper with golden stars, though unseen by me.—7

It was a bad job our sending you the last evening to Bromley with the new Horse; for as we broke our bargain of sending it, that day to Mr Edwards, he has recanted from his offer & we have got the beast still on sale.—8 Some of the young Lubbocks are thinking of buying it as a Hunter.—

I get on very slowly with my confounded proof-sheets & have done only 4 or 5 pages for the two last days, yet I hope to have finished by end of August & to go then to Ilkley. Do not forget to make some enquiries about the Windermere Water-cure place; & whether any House to let close by.—

I have not ceased to rejoice yet, whenever I think over your Scholarship.9 My dear old fellow it is a good little beginning of your life.—

Your affect. father | C. Darwin

I wish to Heaven you were here for a game of Billiards.—


Dated by the references to family guests at Down (see nn. 3, 4, and 5, below).
J. Hudson ed. 1842 included a long section by Adam Sedgwick on the geology of the Lake district. A fifth edition was issued in 1859.
CD refers to Katherine Euphemia (Effie), Hope Elizabeth (Dot), and Alfred Allen (Tim), children of Hensleigh and Frances Mackintosh Wedgwood. Eva and Angus are probably two of Robert and Mary Mackintosh’s children.
Ernest Hensleigh Wedgwood was the elder brother of Katherine, Hope, and Alfred Wedgwood. He was also a friend of William’s and an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Emma Darwin’s diary records that Erasmus Alvey Darwin, Susan Elizabeth Darwin and Hensleigh Wedgwood arrived on 16 July 1859. Charlotte and Charles Langton are not mentioned in July, but visited from 31 August to 6 September.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, George Howard Darwin returned from the home of the Langtons, in Hartfield, on 7 July 1859.
The wallpaper was for the new drawing room of Down House.
CD was trying to sell the horse he had only just bought for William. See letter to W. E. Darwin,3 June [1859]. George Edwards was a horse-dealer of Bromley Common (CD’s Address book (Down House MS) and Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859).
William had won a Christ’s College scholarship, after coming fifth in the college examinations (Cambridge University calendar 1860).


Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Discusses affairs at Down and WED’s coming trip to the Lakes.

Is getting on very slowly with his "confounded proof-sheets" [of Origin].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 46
Physical description
ALS 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2476,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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