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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   [after 5 August 1862]1

too much of a job & so F.2 & I got the tickets for Thursday night gratis. It was most awful fun & they were very good places. On Saturday we came down here with Aunt Sue.3 On Monday Birch4 & a lot of men (Ronnald)5 from his yatch came & had dinner here. Ernest couldn’t stop but had to go off to London early in the morning.6 They went back to their yatch at about 12 & sailed very early in the morning to the channel islands. On Tuesday I went to watch the Lythrums—& had a very wet scrummage.7

I caught 3 hive bees sucking & saw any number of others & also caught 5 flies sucking & saw lots of others; saw a butterfly (Pieris Rapæ) suck several flowers but could not catch it.

CD annotations

1.5 They went … islands. 1.6] crossed pencil


The date is established by the reference to George observing Lythrum salicaria (see n. 7, below) and by the reference to Susan Elizabeth Darwin (see n. 3, below).
Susan Elizabeth Darwin evidently joined George and Francis in London, and accompanied them on their visit to William Erasmus Darwin in Southampton. See also letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862], and letter from W. E. Darwin, 5 August 1862.
This individual has not been identified.
The reference is probably to Ronald Mackintosh, cousin of Ernest Hensleigh Wedgwood (see n. 6, below).
George’s cousin, Ernest Hensleigh Wedgwood, was a clerk in the Colonial Office, London (Post Office London directory 1861).
In the letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862], CD asked George to observe the insects visiting Lythrum salicaria. CD discussed the necessity of insect pollination in this species, and described the insects involved, in ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria, pp. 175–6 (Collected papers 2: 111–12). See also letter from W. E. Darwin, 5 August 1862 and n. 9.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


Describes insects caught while visiting Lythrum.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 90.1
Physical description
inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3671,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

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