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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henrietta Emma Darwin    [1 August 1863]1

A young cat of about the age of 10 months when put upon a soft cloak or gown used to take a piece in her mouth & then pound with her claws out & purr.2

CD annotations

gown] ‘generally’ interl after, ink
purr.] ‘& close her eyes & look happy.— Explain the pounding.— No mistake.’ added ink | ‘(& Purr)’ added pencil | ‘Aug. 1.— 1863 | Expression’3 added ink . Transcribed 27/11/96 as previously missed. AMP. . Checked 27/11/96. SL.


The date is established by CD’s annotations to the letter.
Henrietta made a series of observations on behaviour in cats; there is a memorandum in DAR 189: 7, annotated 28 March 1862, in which Henrietta recorded her observations on the cries of cats and their meaning.
CD evidently preserved these observations for use in Expression, pp. 126–9. Expression was published by John Murray in 1872.


Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


A memorandum describing the expressive behaviour of a cat with added notes by CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 189: 9
Physical description
Amem 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4260F,” accessed on 18 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11