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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   [31 May 1862]1


Saturday night

My dear William

Have you dried Malaxis; if & you can spare a good spec. please put it between 2 good cards & post it to,

G. Chichester Oxenden Esqe Broome Park Canterbury.

He much wishes for it, & I am bound to do anything I can for him: if you cannot send it, please tell me, as I must get an artist to make coloured drawing for him.2

I shamefully never thanked you for my Photographs: please make mamma pay you for them.3

I expect it will do Horace much good coming to you: he looks forward with much pleasure to it—4

I have been dissecting the minute green little flowers now on Viola canina & hirta & odorata; the pollen-tubes are emitted from the pollen-grains still included in the anther, & penetrate the stigma.—5

The 3 Boys ⁠⟨⁠are⁠⟩⁠ here & George is hard at bugging—6 Good night my dear old man | C. D.


Dated by the relationship to the letter from G. C. Oxenden, 30 May [1862] (see n. 2, below); in 1862, 31 May fell on a Saturday.
George Chichester Oxenden had asked CD for a dried specimen or a coloured drawing of the orchid Malaxis paludosa (a synonym of Hammarbya paludosa, the bog orchid) in the letter to CD of 26 May 1862. See also letter from G. C. Oxenden, 30 May [1862].
William had for some time been a keen amateur photographer (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to W. E. Darwin, [before 11 September 1857], and Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, [26 April 1858]). The reference may be to copies of the photograph of CD that William had taken in April 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9, frontispiece, and letter to Asa Gray, 11 April [1861]).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), she and Horace visited William in Southampton from 3 to 12 June 1862. Emma added a note to William at the end of CD’s letter, giving her expected time of arrival in Southampton.
See also letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 May [1862] and n. 7. Viola hirtais hairy violet; V. odorata is sweet violet
The entry in Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) for 31 May 1862 reads: ‘Boys came from school’. She refers to George Howard Darwin, Francis, and Leonard Darwin, who all attended Clapham Grammar School (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 26 April [1862], n. 2). ‘Bugging’ refers to hunting or collecting insects (OED).


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

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Wants WED to forward dried Malaxis to G. C. Oxenden.

Has been dissecting Viola flowers.

[Letter from Emma Darwin to WED, verso p. 3.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 98
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3580,” accessed on 18 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10