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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. A. Huxley   16 October [1872]1

at Miss Woodington’s | The Common | Sevenoaks

Oct. 16th

My dear Mrs. Huxley

Every man has a right to give a friend a marriage present; & going into a new house is nearly as serious & dangerous an affair as marriage.— Therefore I have a full right to enjoy the pleasure of making you a marriage present. I defy your husband, with all his sharpness, to pick a hole in this logic. But here comes my difficulty: I want to give something useful & not poetical, & I thought of asking to be allowed to furnish your dining room; but then I know not what furniture you already have. Now will you not allow me to treat you, as I have treated some of my near relations (& I am sure that I feel like a near relation to you all) & ask you to buy something with the enclosed for your self.—2

Do grant me this favour.— I was very sorry to hear so poor an account of your husband’s state, both for my own sake, & you must know what admiration & affection I feel for him, & for the sake of the whole world.— I hope that he may soon improve, & there is at least one comfort in indigestion, with all its miseries, that there is always a good chance of a prompt cure.—3

Pray believe me, my dear | Mrs Huxley.— | Yours affectionately | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. A. Huxley and T. H. Huxley, 17 October 1872.
CD enclosed a cheque for £100; it is recorded in his Account books–cash account (Down House MS) under the heading ‘Huxley present’ for 16 October 1872. Thomas Henry Huxley had bought a house at 4 Marlborough Place, London in June 1872 (A. Desmond 1994–7, 2: 43).
Huxley had been suffering ill health since the summer (A. Desmond 1994–7, 2: 43).


Desmond, Adrian. 1994–7. Huxley. 2 vols. London: Michael Joseph.


Wants to make a present to her on the move to a new house.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henrietta Anne Heathorn/Henrietta Anne Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 291)
Physical description
ALS 4pp & ADraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8561,” accessed on 23 June 2024,

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