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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Anne Susan Horner   [4 October 1842]

Down | Bromley | Kent


My dear Mrs. Horner

I am very much obliged for your letter & most kind congratulations1 from yourself & Mr. Horner & Katharine.2 We are going on very well & Emma is making a quicker recovery, owing I think to country air, than she has ever done before. Our children are very well & Willy approves of “country ouse” very | much.— I think the place will suit us very well & we have found moving so expensive, that I have not ceased to be thankful that we bought a very cheap house.— It is the quietest country, I ever lived in, & I fear must be very dull to all visitors, as it is scarcely possible to take any drives. To the east & west there are impassible valleys, to the south only one very narrow lane, & to the north, through the village, only two other lanes.— For walking the country is very good there being foot-paths in every direction.— My brother, who detests the country, declared we ought to call the place “Down-in-the-Mouth”—but he is now with us & has rather altered his opinion.—

I am exceedingly sorry to hear that Mr. Horner has not made more rapid progress;—with his activity of mind corporeal bondage must be, I am sure, extremely distressing. Pray tell him, that I have received such a letter from Lyell on my Coral Volume (I mention it, as he approved of it) that I have scarcely yet ceased stalking about like a peacock. I do hope by your return Mr. Horner will be sensibly better. His assistance & that of all true friends, will be wanted at the Geolog. Soc. in November.—3

I never saw anything like poor Lonsdale’s deep gratification at the present—4 My paper is full. Emma joins in warmest thanks to you & believe me, Yours truly obliged | C. Darwin


Refers to the birth of Mary Eleanor Darwin on 23 September.
Katharine Murray Horner, their daughter.
Refers to the controversial election of a successor to William Lonsdale as Curator of the Geological Society. However the election did not take place until December. See letters to Lyell, [5 and 7 October 1842], and William Hallowes Miller, [16 October – 27 November 1842].
Lonsdale had retired from his position because of ill health. On this occasion his friends presented him with a silver cup and a subscription of £600 (Geikie 1875, 1: 372). According to his Account Book (Down House MS), CD contributed £10. CD evidently saw Lonsdale on Friday, 30 September (see letter to Charles Lyell, [5 and 7 October 1842]).


Geikie, Archibald. 1875. Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison: based on his journals and letters with notices of his scientific contemporaries and a sketch of the rise and growth of palæozoic geology in Britain. 2 vols. London: John Murray.


Emma recovering well from birth of third child, Mary Eleanor.

Sorry to hear Leonard Horner has been ill.

Has received high praise of Coral reefs from Lyell.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Anne Susanna Horner
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.11: 1 (EH 88206053)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 648,” accessed on 7 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2