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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   5 June 1871

June 5. 1871

I saw that little wretch of a pony yesterday; it has not quite moulted but very nearly. It is a dirty pale dun, about the colour of weak gritty coffee & milk, and I think is a little darker than when you saw it, tail a tolerably pure white, mane creamy white.

I will look again




May 13. 1871—

I saw a new Forest pony shedding its hair. Winter coat very long summer coat brownish cream-colour, tail & mane remaining white

Descent of Man—2

CD annotations

1.1 new Forest pony] ‘apparently young’ interl pencil; ‘(Bred near Southampton)’ ink
1.1 long] ‘& perfectly white;’ interl pencil
1.2 colour,] ‘with trace of spiral darker stripes’ interl ink
End of enclosure: ‘Pony 2 years old— Born of same brown cream colour’ ink; ‘White Arctic animals in winter— If the Pony moulted its colours, during both seasons an arctic breed will at once be formed—’ pencil


CD was in Southampton from 11 to 19 May 1871 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). The enclosure appears to have been written by Emma Darwin. CD evidently left the note with William, who then returned it together with his own observations.
In Descent 2: 298, CD mentioned the domestic horse as one of the animals that often had a paler winter coat.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Follows up CD’s observation of 13 May 1871, of a New Forest pony shedding its winter coat.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 90: 75, 75a
Physical description
ALS 1p, CD note

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7802,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

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