skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Aubertin   1 March 1871

Windham Club. | St. James’s Square. | S.W.

Wednesday March 1. 1871.

Dear Mr Darwin,

Your new book which I saw at my bookseller’s the other day, puts me in mind of my having been with you, (playing now & then a game at billiards), while you were publishing your “Origin of Species”—1 And I will now tell you that in the course of last summer I went down as far as Bromley, by rail, thinking to call on you, but at the station I learned to my dismay that you lived seven miles distant, & there was no conveyance at hand!— So I returned the way I came!—

I still hope to see you again some day, & I hope Mrs Darwin & all are well.2

Do you remember corresponding with me in Brazil? & I sent you some postage stamps for your “boys”!3 They must be all “men” now! But I still have a stamp or two to spare!

I have just returned from Andalusia & Portugal: & it was at Cintra that I heard of your coming book, in conversation with a great botanist there. I think his name was Maw—4 He said he corresponded with you but did not know you—

Hoping when the weather is milder to try my luck again, & with kind regards to Mrs Darwin, | Believe me faithfully yours | J. J. Aubertin.

P.S. Do you ever hear of Miss Butler now?—5


Aubertin refers to time spent at Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire, in the autumn of 1859, when both he and CD were undergoing hydropathic treatment (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from J. J. Aubertin, 27 April 1863 and n. 1). Origin was published in November 1859 and CD received his own copy on 2 November 1859 in Ilkley Wells (see Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix VIII).
Aubertin had met Emma Darwin and the younger children at Ilkley Wells, where she joined CD on 17 October 1859 (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from J. J. Aubertin, 27 April 1863 and n. 19).
In his letter of 19 July 1863 (Correspondence vol. 11), CD had asked Aubertin to send stamps from Brazil for Leonard Darwin.
Cintra (now Sintra) was a popular resort town near Lisbon (Columbia gazetteer of the world). George Maw had sent CD a specimen of Drosophyllum lusitanicum from Portugal in 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter to George Maw, 22 May [1869]).
Mary Butler had been a patient at Ilkley Wells when CD and Aubertin were there in 1859 (Correspondence vol. 7). See also Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Mary Butler, [before 25 December 1862].


Columbia gazetteer of the world: The Columbia gazetteer of the world. Edited by Saul B. Cohen. 3 vols. New York: Columbia University Press. 1998.

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

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Was reminded of CD by his new book [Descent] in a shop;

reports having come on train as far as Bromley in previous summer, but found no means of travelling the seven miles to Down. Might try again.

Letter details

Letter no.
John James Aubertin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Windham Club
Source of text
DAR 159: 125
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7526,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19