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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   [10 January 1825]


My Dear Bobby.

Comment vous portez vous, Monsieur? Pretty well. Je suis ravi. Ah. Ah. What a charming shot you must be to have killed that young tyger, that you mentioned; it must have been very horrid, only suppose you had missed him & that he had run at you. Bye the Bye. How came this tiger to be loose? You dont mention that. Is there any there any menagerie at Styche?1 But I begin to suspect this is like some other wonderful birds that you see with your pocket telescopes, or eyes whichever you please to call them.

There was a travelling mineral-seller here some time ago who made my mouth water with such a magnificent piece of amethystine quartz. The crystal was 4 or 5 inches long & so beautiful, only the wretch asked a pound for it. He had an immense number, tho’ not variety of stones, & I did see anything which you had not got.

I cant say my cabinet increases very much I have got a piece of petrified sponge & shall perhaps have a curious piece of coal which J. Price2 pulled out of his fire


I have given you a sketch of it, the figs (alpha) are little circular hollows and those (beta) are little compressed tubercles. They are curiously mixed together in some places. He is going to shew it to the Prof. of Geology.

You cant think what a pretty bird the spotted Woodpecker is, if you never saw it There was one being stuffed here some time ago. There is a very beautiful work now publishing which you would like. Griffiths Animal Kingdom3 in Quarterly parts. 24 shillings each the best copies 1/2 a guinea the worst.

Price & I are going to anatomize cows h⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ &c very vigorously as soon as he he ⁠⟨⁠ha⁠⟩⁠s time which I dont think you woul⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ fanc⁠⟨⁠y.⁠⟩⁠

I this morning saw a curiously diseased liver &c of a child who had died with a jaundice— I send you the sixpence & pray dont make a beast of yourself with it

Let me hear from you again. | Love ad omnes | Greet Spark4 | yours, | E. D.

P.S. I can not make out whether you mean your P.S. for a quiz.5 If there was a list it was an old list of my own.

2nd. P.S. In the last No of ye An. of. Phil. The Editors so quizzed “self adjusting candles” &c for the Blowpipe that I hardly know if I shall venture to send an account of my admirable candlestick.6

3rd. P.S. If you know of any person coming to to Cambridge get him to carry up my “Samouelles Entomolog. Companion”.7 N.B it is a red book—


Styche Hall was the seat of the Clive family (Bagshaw 1851, p. 297).
Darwin family dog.
‘A practical joke’; ‘a jest or witticism’ (OED).
In a book review mention is made of ‘a blowpipe with a self-adjusting candlestick (a self-adjusting fiddlestick to Mr François Cramer’s violin would be about as necessary or useful)’ (Annals of Philosophy n.s. 9 (1825): 58).
Samouelle 1819. The copy in Darwin Library–CUL has annotations in another hand designed to make reference to the work more convenient. On the end-paper CD has written ‘p. 338 Explanation of terms’.


Bagshaw, Samuel. 1851. History, gazetteer, and directory of Shropshire. Sheffield.

Griffith, Edward, et al. 1827–35. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization, by the Baron Cuvier, … with additional descriptions of all the species hitherto named, and of many not before noticed. 16 vols. London.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.

Samouelle, George. 1819. The entomologist’s useful compendium; or, an introduction to the knowledge of British insects. London. [Vols. 1,7]


Saw a mineral salesman, but he had nothing CD does not already have.

EAD has a piece of petrified sponge and some curious coal that John Price pulled out of his fire.

Griffith’s Animal kingdom [Griffith, Edward, et al. 1827–35. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organization, by the Baron Cuvier, … with additional descriptions of all the species hitherto named, and of many not before noticed. 16 vols. London] just being published. He is sure CD would like it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
C 10 JA 10 1825; Cambridge 52
Source of text
DAR 204: 7
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1