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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   [4 February 1870]1

14 Arlington St.


My dear Father,

I have just been having a ride on the cob that I told you of.2 I shd say that he is very little smaller than Tommy; he has got a very nice walk, trot & canter & is brisk tho’ extremely quiet—& unless he turns out differently I shd think he was the very animal for you. And now for the bad side— the price is 50 guineas & they wo’nt let him out for less than a month for wh. they charge 10 guineas (to be prepaid) & to be subtracted from the purchase money. But lest this shd scare you too much from trying him—if you find he is not suitable I wd take him back to London & keep him on my own hook including share of 10-er for the rest of the month & try how riding suited me.—3 I have written a letter for you to sign (if you like) from wh. you will see the arrangements I have made provisionally for his coming down.— If the waggonette is mouldering in the yard or if the horses happen to be at Orpington Station at 5.50 tomorrow you may send to meet the 4.12 train.

Your affectionate Son | George Darwin

The address is

Mr. Allen4

70 Seymour Place

Bryanstone Square

I told Allen I wd let him know tomorrow so you must write by return.—

G. D


I write to inform you that I wish to hire the cob, which my son rode yesterday, for 4 weeks— with the option of purchasing him during that time.— I enclose a cheque for £10.10s for wh. I beg you will be so good as to return me a receipt.

I should wish the cob to be sent by the train leaving Charing Cross at 10.30 am to Orpington Station, South Eastern R.y on Monday Feb 7th; & my groom shall meet that train at Orpington.—

I am Sir | Yours obediently

Mr. Allen

CD annotations

1.2 time] ‘for 50 gn, if I agree to purchase this c or [another] [10 or 11 words illeg, del]’, interl after, pencil
1.3 £10.10s] comma added after, pencil
1.3 for wh.] crossed pencil
1.3 return] crossed pencil; ‘send’ above, pencil
1.3 receipt] ‘by my servant who shall call at your stable for the horse on Monday next’6 added after, pencil


The date is established by the date of the enclosure.
The horse that George describes here is apparently a different one from that described in his letter of [3 February 1870 or earlier].
The horse did not suit CD, and George kept him for the remainder of the month. George wrote to Henrietta Emma Darwin: ‘I have been moving heaven & earth to get a horse for Father— my plan was to go to Riding Schools & hire their quietest hack— as dealers won’t give a trial— I got one down that I thought wd do, but unfortly he turns out as John say ‘too much of a orse for master’. He is a most charming little cob. As they wd only let him for a month & not less, I am going to have the riding of him in town for the remaining fortnight. I have been doing all I can to stop Father riding Tommy, as I’m sure he’s not safe— but I’m afraid he’s going on at present.’ (Letter from G. H. Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [21–2 February 1870] (DAR 251: 2243).)
The enclosure is in George’s hand with amendments by CD.
A payment to Allen of £10 10s. is recorded in CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS) on 5 February 1870.


Believes he has found a quiet cob suitable for CD. Encloses a letter for CD to sign and send to the owner if he approves the idea.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Arlington St, 14
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 15–16
Physical description
ALS 4pp, encl 2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7096,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18