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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   22 October [1872]


Oct 22d

My dear Hooker

This note will reach you on your return from your melancholy journey.— I lost my mother during infancy & therefore know not what the loss is, but I can well believe, that with the exception of ones wife, it is the greatest that a man can suffer;—though God knows the loss of a child is bitter enough & overwhelming.—1

You have sometimes spoken to me as if you felt growing old: I have never seen any signs of this, & I am certain that in the affections, which form incomparably the noblest part of a man’s nature, you are one of the youngest men that I know.— My wife sends her affectionate regards to you.— With respect to the Horse, my wife, I believe, erred in saying that his feet are tender, but he stumbles very badly, & as far as my experience goes a horse stumbles as much on the road or more, when walking as in trotting. So he would not suit: we thought that you wanted him for turf alone, & then he wd. have suited very well.—2 We return home next Saturday, & that will complete my 3 weeks of rest.3 I have been as dull as anyone could desire, & I daresay it will do me some good.—

On your return home you will be compelled to work hard, & that will be your best cure.—

Believe me | yours ever affectionately | Ch. Darwin

I fear Huxley keeps very poorly.—4


CD’s mother, Susannah Darwin, died when CD was eight years old. Maria Hooker died on 16 October 1872 (see letter from J. D. Hooker to Emma Darwin, 19 October 1872). Both CD and Hooker had lost young children to illness (see Correspondence vols. 5 and 11).
Hooker wanted to buy a cart-horse (see letters from J. D. Hooker, 7 October 1872 and 19 October 1872).
CD stayed in Sevenoaks from 5 to 26 October 1872 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Thomas Henry Huxley had been suffering ill health since the summer (A. Desmond 1994–7, 2: 43).


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

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


Condolences on death of JDH’s mother.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 94: 231–2
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8569,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

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