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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   11 October [1862]1


Oct. 11

My Dear Father.

I meant to have sent these before, but have been out to dinner and could not manage it. Don’t you think the L. P. Lythrum are rather unfair, as the plant grew by itself and the pods are evidently smaller than in the S. P. Lythrum. I cannot find another marked plant of L. P. L., but by the length of pistil I could easily pick out a plant growing with others.2 My only difficulty is time, as I am off to Cowes on Sunday till Monday then there is the Harttley on Tuesday3 but Wednesday I hope to manage it; as it will be much fairer for my counting.

I am going up to London on Thursday for the Exhibition,4 and shall come home sometime in November, after Mr A. has got Mrs A. and Maud settled at Torquay.5 She seems to be going on very slowly. Mr Keele6 thinks that by taking 3 days over it they may start for Torquay in about a fortnight

Your affect son WED


The year is established from the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin, 9 October 1862 (this volume, Supplement).
William had told CD that he would send the plants of long-pistilled and short-pistilled Lythrum on the evening of 9 October (letter from W. E. Darwin, 9 October 1862).
Cowes is a resort on the Isle of Wight, about twenty-two miles from Southampton. The Hartley Institution was a literary and scientific institution in Southampton; it was opened by the prime minister, Lord Palmerston (Henry John Temple), on Wednesday 15 October 1862 (Hampshire Advertiser, 18 October 1862, pp. 6–8). The following evening, there was a ball in the lecture hall of the institution, to which William had been invited (Hampshire Advertiser, 18 October 1862, supplement, p. 2). William appears to have made a mistake in the days, and may have been looking at 16 September in the calendar, which was a Tuesday; 16 October was a Thursday.
The International Exhibition opened in South Kensington, London on 1 May 1862 (The Times, 2 May 1862, pp. 11–12). It was due to close in September; however, by popular demand it was kept open until the end of October (Athenæum, 20 September 1862, p. 374). William could not have gone to the exhibition on Thursday 16 October because he was at the mayor’s ball that evening (see n. 3, above). He later mentioned meeting Emma Darwin there; she attended the exhibition on 17 and 18 October (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from W. E. Darwin, 21 October [1862] and n. 7).
George Atherley, William’s banking partner, and his wife, Ellen Atherley, evidently hoped that the seaside resort of Torquay would be beneficial to the health of their six-year-old daughter, Maud Elizabeth Atherley.
Possibly the Southampton surgeon Charles Patton Keele.


Sends comments on Lythrum.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 8)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3756F,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)