# To John Downing   20 October [1873]1

Down. | Beckenham. Kent.

Oct 20th.

Dear Sir.

I have been much gratified by your letter.2 It is in the highest degree satisfactory to me to find that a man with such large experience as yourself agrees with what I have deduced to a considerable extent.— I should much enjoy seeing you here, but I am in some perplexity   I have lately been ill with some secondary head affection, & my doctor urges me not to exert myself by much conversation.—3 In fact I can rarely talk with anyone for more than half an hour & sometimes for not so long; though I am able to do a good deal of scientific work if without any excitement— Our nearest station is Orpington on the S.E. Ry4 (starting from Charing Cross) & my house is 4 miles from the Station. I cannot think it would be worth your while to lose almost a whole day in London to come down here for $\frac{1}{2}$ or $\frac{3}{4}$ of an hours talk— Would it not be more convenient to you to write to me from Ireland?— But if you like to come I shall be pleased, In this case please to come by the train leaving Charing cross at 10o 35’ & take a fly at Orpington and you will arrive here at 11o 45’ Note. This is my best time in the day. We will lunch at 12o 45’ & then you can leave at 1o 20’ for Orpington for train which starts at 2o 4’ for London; All this sounds very inhospitable but I can assure you that I have no choice in the matter;5

Thanking you for your very kind letter, I remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin.

If you come kindly inform me by Post Card of the day.

## Footnotes

The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Downing, 13 November 1873.
Downing’s letter has not been found; he was a respected shorthorn breeder from Ireland.
CD was consulting Andrew Clark (letter from G. H. Darwin, [1 October 1873]).
S.E. Ry: South-Eastern Railway.
Downing visited on 24 October 1874 (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 24 [October 1873]).

## Summary

Gratified that a man of JD’s experience agrees with him.

Would enjoy seeing him at Down but it could only be for a half-hour’s talk at most, because of his health.

## Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9104
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
John Downing
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 143: 418
Physical description
2pp