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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 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.
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. 28 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 23 May 2022,

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