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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   3 May [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 3d

My dear George

Many thanks for the extracts which I will keep, but the subject of music is beyond me.—2

I was thinking the other day of suggesting to you to deliberate over 1 or 2 sentences at the end of your paper on dress, where you speak of the subject being very interesting.3 I remember once putting in some such sentence, & it was objected to me that the Reader was the proper judge of this.

This may be Hypercriticism.—

I am heartily glad that you were not too late for being called to the Bar.—4 Good Heavens what two days work you had—

The Lovers seem supremely happy, & Amy’s eyes are as bright as they can be, & her cheeks rosy.—5 We had a perfectly charming & most cordial letter from Mrs. Ruck today. She approves of my suggestion that the marriage shd. not be immediately. Mr. Ruck’s name is never even mentioned!—6

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from G. H. Darwin, 2 May 1872.
CD refers to George’s article ‘Development in dress’, which was published in the September 1872 issue of Macmillan’s Magazine (G. H. Darwin 1872).
George was called to the bar on 30 April 1872 (Men-at-the-bar).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Amy Ruck was at Down from 25 April to 4 May 1872; she was engaged to Francis Darwin.
Mary Anne Ruck’s letter has not been found. Lawrence Ruck had spent time in the Moorcroft lunatic asylum, Middlesex; among the evidences offered of his insanity were that he had accused his wife of being a prostitute, and claimed that he himself was haunted by a maidservant who had, according to him, borne him two children (see The Times, 25 August 1858, pp. 5–6, 26 August 1858, p. 7). He was found to be sane by the commissioners of lunacy and successfully sued the proprietor of the asylum for illegally and unnecessarily confining him (British Medical Journal, 2 July 1859, pp. 534–5). Amy and Francis were married on 23 July 1874 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Darwin, George Howard. 1872. Development in dress. Macmillan’s Magazine 26: 410–16.

Men-at-the-bar: Men-at-the-bar: a biographical hand-list of the members of the various inns of court, including Her Majesty’s judges, etc. By Joseph Foster. London: Reeves & Turner. 1885.


Thanks GHD for extracts, but says the subject of music is beyond him.

Suggests that GHD deliberate over one or two sentences of his paper on dress ["Developments in dress", Macmillan’s Mag. 22 (1872): 410–16].

Refers to prospective marriage of Amy [Ruck and CD’s son Francis].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 7
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8308,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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