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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Rolla Charles Meadows Rouse   [after 12 March 1868]1

My Dear Sir

Will you be so good as to inform me at what exact date, in about a fortnights time, it will suit you to receive my son Horace.—2 As you were so good as to say that you had heard from Dr Wrigley, I have not troubled you with his Quarterly characters, which as I have said, have all been as good as possible.3 As I previously mentioned, he is backward in Classics, but he tells me that he has been getting on better of late. I care about Classics only so far that he may pass his matriculation & afterwards his Little-Go—4 For mathematics he has a strong taste, & I suppose is fairly well advanced for his age of 17 years, considering, however, that he formerly lost 3 years from ill-health.5 As at present advised, & following my sons own wish, I intend that he shd try for the degree in the Sciences.— I beg leave to call your attention to a singular incapacity for spelling, & shd be much obliged, if you wd mark in all exercises his mistakes. He is anxious to improve & is ashamed of his ignorance. But the incapacity runs to a certain extent in our blood. I think that you will find my son anxious to please you in all ways, & I do not fear that he will be idle, but rather that he may work too hard.—


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Alfred Wrigley, 12 March 1868.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Horace Darwin left home on 29 April 1868.
In his letter of 12 March 1868, Wrigley had indicated that he would write to Rouse that evening.
Little-go: ‘the popular name … for the first examination for the degree of B.A., officially called … “The Previous Examination” at Cambridge’ (OED).
Horace had been ill for much of the period from 1862 to 1864 (see Correspondence vols. 10–12).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Discusses tuition arrangements for Horace Darwin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Rolla Charles Meadows Rouse
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 39-40
Physical description
ADraft 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5962,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16