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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   11 August [1857]1


Augt. 11th

My dear Lubbock

I am going to do a most ungracious thing, viz to ask you not to call here on Thursday, for I heard yesterday that a very old friend is coming to spend the day here,2 & childish as it must seem to you, this is a very great exertion to me, & the last straw breaks the camel’s back,—especially such a miserable worthless camel as I am.— I am sure I need not say how much pleasure a talk with you gives me whenever you have time & inclination to call.—

Forgive me | Dear Lubbock| Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I did not write in answer about the Chinese fowls, as I thought I shd see you before very long. When I do see you & hear about them, I will settle whether the long journey to Bromley is worth while.

I went yesterday to Crystal Palace for Poultry show, & returned rather soured in temper, as I saw nothing worth seeing in my line.—3


The dates of this and the letter to Lubbock on 12 [August 1857] are based on John Stevens Henslow’s proposed trip to Down (see letter to Henslow, 10 August [1857], n. 1).
Beginning in 1857, the Crystal Palace was the site of a twice yearly poultry show, the largest in the London area (Secord 1981, p. 171).


Secord, James Andrew. 1981. Nature’s fancy: Charles Darwin and the breeding of pigeons. Isis 72: 162–86.


Asks JL not to call as he has a "very old friend" [J. S. Henslow] coming to visit him.

Yesterday visited poultry show at Crystal Palace.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 263: 21 (EH 88206470)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2481,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6