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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Mary Butler   11 September [1859]1

Down, Bromley Kent

Sept. 11th

My dear Miss Butler

I wrote to Moor Park to enquire for your address, & was told that a letter addressed to you at Mr Tennant’s would be forwarded, but that you were wandering about Scotland. This, I much fear, augurs badly for Ilkley.—2 My Book at last is so nearly finished that I can really & truly see that I shall be a free man at the end of this month. Our plans are rather undecided; but I incline strongly to go to Ilkley, but I fear, without I found it a very tempting place, that it is too late to take a house for my family; & in this case I should stop three or four weeks in the establishment, return home for a week or so, & then go to Moor Park for a few weeks, so as altogether to get a good dose of Hydropathy.3

My object in troubling you with this note,—a trouble, which I hope & believe you will forgive—is to know whether there is any chance of your being at Ilkley in beginning of October. It would be rather terrible to go into the great place & not know a soul. But if you were there I should feel safe & home-like.— You see that all your former kindness makes me confident of receiving more kindness.

I hope that you are well & have had happy visits with your friends,

Pray believe me, my dear Miss Butler, with truth | Yours sincerely obliged | Charles Darwin


Dated by CD’s reference to visiting the hydropathic establishment in Ilkley, Yorkshire. He intended to go in October 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
CD had met Mary Butler at the Moor Park hydropathic establishment. See letter to Mary Butler,20 February [1859]. Mary Butler did visit Ilkley (see n. 3, below).
CD left for Ilkley, Yorkshire, on 2 October 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II). At first he stayed in the establishment, but later he rented a house on Wells Terrace, where the family joined him on 17 October (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 172). At the end of October 1859, Emma Darwin wrote to William Erasmus Darwin: ‘Miss Butler your father’s friend of Moor Park is gone which is a great loss to us as she is very pleasant & lively & kind’ (DAR 210.6).


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Inquires about the chances of meeting her when he goes to Ilkley for a cure.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Mary Butler
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.168)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2489,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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