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Darwin Correspondence Project

To E. A. Darwin    21 December 1828


(Preceded by a letter signed S.E.D.)1

My dear Erasmus

Susan has given me this third sheet to write to you upon; but why I should do so I know not. Apologies are come much too late for such shamefully ungrate- ful conduct as mine has been and excuses I have none. You are become like a stranger to me. I do not know from what point to begin with After you left Cambridge I got into very nice rooms in College, far more comfortable than lodgings,2 as you will find when you come next to Cambridge. I imbibed your tastes3 about prints, and put it into practice, and have bought some very good prints, which I long for you to see. I came down from Cambridge yesterday which I left very empty. I think I shall go and see old Edinburg this X’tmas, before all my friends entirely leave it. I left Fox up in Cam. in great awe and tribulation about his degree, which is to be made very much more strict, so that they give out that at least 50 will be plucked:4 I live almost entirely with Fox and Entomology goes on most surprisingly. Price is in Cambridge and has got some pupils, he intends writing to you very soon. Kennedy5 is a tutor at St. Johns: Whitley will be either first or second next year: I see a good deal of him and like him very much. This will be but a poor finishing to Susan’s letter, and must be awfully stupid. When is there any prospect of your coming back again? I long very much to see the Bachelor of Medicine again.6 Fanny Owen is as charming as ever and deserves your string of German epithets more than ever.

My dear old Erasmus | Yours most affectionately | C. Darwin


The dates and note were written at the top of the copy by the copyist. Susan’s letter to Erasmus was apparently not preserved.
CD had taken lodgings above the shop of W. Bacon, tobacconist, in Sydney Street (LL 1: 163). The site, marked by a plaque, is now occupied by a branch of Boots the Chemists. His rooms at Christ’s were on the south side of the first court (see Christ’s College Magazine, Easter Term, 1909, pp. 184–208).
The copyist wrote ‘tastes’ and, in the margin, ‘obscured by seal’.
The term ‘plucked’ originally meant to be refused a degree for any of several reasons, but it gradually came to be used only for failure in the examination.
Erasmus passed the M.B. examination at Cambridge in 1828.


LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


Has found nice rooms in [Christ’s] College, which he has furnished with some very good prints. Lives almost entirely with W. D. Fox and entomology.

News of John Price, B. H. Kennedy, and Charles Whitley. Fanny Owen is as charming as ever.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 154: 66
Physical description
C C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 53,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1