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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Horace Darwin   26 [July 1868]1

Dumbola Lodge | Freshwater | Isle of Wight


My dear Horace

We do not know Leonards address & I must write to some one else I shall burst with pleasure at Leonards success.— We saw the news yesterday & no doubt you will have seen it.—2 Is it not splendid? Who would ever have thought that poor dear old Lenny wd. have got so magnificent a place. I shall be curious to hear how many tried. Everything is grand; what a difference between the highest & lowest number! By Jove how well his perseverance & energy has been rewarded.

This is a very dull place, but we like it much better than we did at first. Erasmus & the Hensleighs3 are here for a few days & we went yesterday evening to Alum Bay, which is vy grand.4

Perhaps the Leith Hill folk are coming to the Hotel here.—5

What a bad job it is that Ruck6 has not got in.— I wish you were coming sooner.

My vy dear old man | Your affect. Father | C. Darwin


The month and year are established by the address of the letter: the Darwins were at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight from 17 July to 20 August 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Leonard Darwin had come second in the entrance examination for the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 221). It is not known where the Darwins saw the news.
The reference is to Erasmus Alvey Darwin, Hensleigh Wedgwood and Frances Emma Elizabeth Wedgwood, and possibly some of Hensleigh and Frances’s children.
Alum Bay on the Isle of Wight is famous for the Needles (chalk stacks) and for its coloured sands.
Leith Hill Place was the home of Josiah Wedgwood III and Caroline Sarah Wedgwood.
CD probably refers to Richard Matthews Ruck, who entered Woolwich in February 1869 (Register of gentleman cadets, Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, held in the archives of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst).


Emma Darwin (1904): Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. Cambridge: privately printed by Cambridge University Press. 1904.


Writes to express his pleasure at Leonard’s success [second in the Woolwich Academy entrance examination].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Horace Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 185: 1
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6289,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

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