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Darwin Correspondence Project

To JDHooker   25 January [1872]1

Down Beckenham

Jan 25.

My dear Hooker

I am heartily glad to hear about your Willie.—2 I know what a sharp test the matriculation exam: is; for a few years ago I made special enquiries, & came to the conclusion that Horace cd. not have passed it, even with a year’s hard work.—3 As Willie’s intellectual powers have come to maturity rather late in life, I shd. fully expect that they would go on maturing to an equally later period of life than usual.—4 It is really a great thing for him to have got into the first division, with all the disturbance of regular work from his voyage.—5

I never had Zizania; but I still have Leersia, & you can take away 12 my plant, or all if you like, for I cannot make the beast produce perfect flowers—6 We shall truly rejoice to see you here on the 3d. & let us hear the train that we may send to meet you.7

Henrietta is here, but has had a disastrous visit, for she caught a cold or had a relapse into her former state, & has been in bed the whole week.8

What slow coaches the Ministers are about your affairs.—9

Yours affectly.— | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 24 January 1872.
CD refers to Horace Darwin; no correspondence on this subject has been found.
For Hooker’s concern about his son’s development, see, for example, Correspondence vol. 9, letter from JD. Hooker, [29 December 1861].
William Hooker was sent to New Zealand in 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17).
See letter from JDHooker, 24 January 1872 and nn. 2 and 3. Perfect: i.e. open.
CD refers to Henrietta Emma Litchfield. Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records: ‘Hen came’ and ‘feverish at night’ on 16 January 1872; ‘fell sick’ on 17 January; ‘H. m. better’ on 28 January; ‘came down’ on 29 January; and ‘Hen went’ on 31 January.


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


Heartily glad about Willy.

Has never had Zizania.

Still has Leersia. He cannot make the beast produce.

What slow coaches the Ministers are about the Ayrton affair.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 218–19
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8181,” accessed on 22 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20