skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [5 and 8? April 1868]1



My dear Father,

I enclose a copy of some notes Langstaff has made from observation since receiving your letter to me. He does not know that they are of least use, but thought it just worth while sending you. I return you your letters so that you can see what you said in them.2

As to business, I am going over to see P at his house in a day or two when I have great hopes we shall get over the first difficulty as to money; as I had a talk with them last week and we very nearly came to terms. H. is away on leave, so that P. must be quite up to work.

I told A. that in your opinion, he made too much of the come down for him, & that everyone would simply look at it in the way of business, & I think it relieved him.3 I am going over to Embley tomorrow for dinner, & probably shall meet Dr Hooker.4 The Park will be looking delicious.

I think I am improved by my stay at Malvern, but I am not the thing yet, tho’ not much amiss.5

Langstaff will be very glad to observe anything else.

He has now had many opportunities of watching for blushing on the body, but has not seen a trace of it even with profuse blushing in the face.

Your affect son | W E Darwin

I have ordered the clips to be sent you.


I have had to keep back this letter till I could get Langstaff to translate some of his writing.

I will take a trip to Swanage the first day I can get—on a Sunday I could not see the [interiors] probably6

Thanks for Mama’s letter7

CD annotations

6.1 He … face 6.2] ‘Langstaff’ in margin, pencil
11.00 I … letter 12.1] crossed pencil


The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter, the letter from W. E. Darwin, 3 April 1868 (Correspondence vol. 16), and the letter from W. E. Darwin, [22? April 1868] (ibid.), and also by references throughout William’s letters in April 1868 to seeing or not having seen Charles Langstaff, which make 5 and 8 April more likely than another other Sunday and Wednesday between 3 and 22 April.
Langstaff’s notes have not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. It is not clear to what letters William refers, but CD had been corresponding with him about human and animal facial expressions (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 16, letter to W. E. Darwin, [15 March 1868]).
William was negotiating a merger between the private bank he ran with his partner, George Atherley, and another private Southampton bank, Maddison, Pearce and Hankinson, run by Henry Stanley Robert Pearce and Robert Chatfield Hankinson; the merger took place in 1869 (Banking almanac 1870), and the bank was listed under the name Maddison, Atherley, Hankinson and Darwin. Pearce died later in 1868, after many years of illness (Hampshire Advertiser, 12 December 1868, supplement p. 4).
Embley Park, about five miles north-west of Southampton, was the estate of William Edward Nightingale, Florence Nightingale’s father. Dr Hooker: Joseph Dalton Hooker.
William had been taking the water cure at Malvern (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from W. E. Darwin, [after 25 March 1868] and n. 6).
CD and William had spent a week at the seaside resort of Swanage in Dorset in 1848 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I; Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
The letter from Emma Darwin has not been found.


Langstaff has seen no trace of blushing on the body.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 81; Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 34)
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6149,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)