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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Haeckel   [20 October 1866]1

Down Bromley | Kent


My dear Sir

It will give me the most sincere & cordial pleasure to see you tomorrow.2

On Sundays there are not many trains to choose from. You must go to the “London Chatham & Dover department” of the Victoria station for the trains which start either at 10.25 arriving at Bromley 11.3 or leaving Victoria at 2.0 arriving at Bromley 2.40.

My carriage, which you will recognize by a white horse with a chestnut one, will meet both trains at Bromley so that you can take your choice.3 We live 6 miles from Bromley Station. Take care to get out at Bromley station. We hope that you will of course sleep here & we can convey you to the station the next morning.

My health is a good deal improved but I find it impossible to converse with any one for more than a quarter or half an hour at a time. So you must forgive me for often leaving you.4

I know that you read English perfectly, & I hope that you speak it, as I am ashamed to say I can neither speak German or French. It will give me the most sincere pleasure to see you.

Believe me | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

You had better direct your cab. to Victoria Station, which is little more than half a mile from Clarges St.5


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Ernst Haeckel, 19 October 1866.
Haeckel had asked if he could visit CD on Sunday 21 October 1866 (see letter from Ernst Haeckel, 19 October 1866).
According to a letter circulated to his friends, Haeckel took the morning train to Bromley (see Krauße 1987, pp. 76–7).
For more on the improvement in CD’s health, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 24 August [1866]. CD often excused himself from social occasions on the grounds that conversation with visitors exhausted him (see Correspondence vol. 13, Appendix IV and n. 9).
Haeckel had written to CD from 8 Clarges Street, Piccadilly, London (see letter from Ernst Haeckel, 19 October 1866).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Krauße, Erika. 1987. Ernst Haeckel. 2d edition. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner.


Explains how to get to Down for visit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
Sent from
Source of text
Ernst-Haeckel-Haus (Bestand A-Abt. 1-52/11)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5224,” accessed on 14 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14