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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Maurice Herbert   [January 1839 – September 1842]1

12 Up. Gower St.


My dear Herbert.

I believe that the best bird-preservers are “Leadbeater 19 Brewer St. Golden Square” & “Gould 20 Broad St Golden Square”—which is best I do not know.— I should recommend your friend to call herself & explain2 in which styles she wants them mounted.— Ask to see specimens

I fancy price varies much, the care taken

As for Birds of Paradise from the West Indies, tell that to the Marines, as we used to say on board the Beagle.—

I am very much obliged for your enquiries about houses— I am getting desperate & expect next year I shall have to build: Bookham is rather too far from a railway station.—

I was not able to go to the Geolog. Annivers. yesterday as I have not been as well as usual during the last fortnight.—

Next Wednesday Owen gives an account of the great Mastodon, now exhibiting at the Ægyptian Hall.— I mention it, as perhaps you like others may feel interested about it.— I fear I shall not be there.—

Farewell my ancient amigo | Ever yours | C. Darwin


CD lived at 12 Upper Gower Street, London, from January 1839 to September 1842, when he moved to Down, Kent.
‘Tell that to the marines’: said of a far-fetched story. The saying, attributed to King Charles II of England, was prompted by an account of flying fish given by Samuel Pepys. The courtiers reacted with incredulity until an officer of the marine regiment confirmed the existence of flying fish. The king replied: ‘Henceforward ere ever we cast doubts upon a tale that lacks likelihood, we will first “Tell it to the Marines’” (Brewer, p. 1160).


Suggests the names of two bird-preservers for JMH’s friend.

In reference to an earlier letter, replies: "As for Birds of Paradise from the West Indies, tell that to the marines, as we used to say on board the Beagle".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Maurice Herbert
Sent from
Source of text
Bonhams, New York (dealers) (11 December 2013)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 476A,” accessed on 8 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)