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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   12 October 1871

Botanic Garden, | Cambridge, Mass.

Oct. 12, 71

My Dear Mr. Darwin,

We have been glad enough to see something of your good sons, and only regret that we have done so little to show it.1

We certainly expected they would be domiciled with us. But not hearing of their return from California, did not write till we heard that they were here, and the guests of another. A pleasanter place they could hardly have, and it was quite for the best as it turned out, inopportune tho’ it was for us. For it so happened that Mrs. Gray’s invalid sister,2 who had not been in our house for 7 years, was, with family, staying with us during the time that your sons were here, leaving us only to-day, and nearly absorbing for the time our accommodations. Well; they will come again, and we will hope for better luck.

You often call me a most busy man. But that word is very far indeed from adequately expressing the state I have been in for the past few weeks.—without a moment’s respite.

With kind remembrances to Mrs. Darwin—heartiest good wishes to the newly married one,3 from Mrs. Gray & myself, who sends (i.e. Mrs. G.) best regards to yourself

Ever Yours | Asa Gray


George Howard and Francis Darwin had been travelling in the United States (see letter to Asa Gray, 16 July [1871]).
Gray refers to Jane Loring Gray, and to her sister Susan Mary Jackson.
Henrietta Emma Darwin married Richard Buckley Litchfield on 31 August 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Has seen CD’s sons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Mass.
Source of text
DAR 165: 177
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8004,” accessed on 23 June 2024,

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