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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   1 and 2 May [1875]1

Pantludw | Machynlleth

Sat. May 1

My dear Father

The proofs arrived all safe this morning & I have been correcting some.2 I havn’t calculated the mg thing but will.3 I am very sory it is such worrying work for you   I hope you will go & rest— Many thanks for the solemn advice about 10 days—4


It was no use sending off this yesterday—I got a lot more safe this morning, & shall send off the ones I have done this afternoon if I find I can register them.

The following remarks are to Mother

Amy is delighted at the azaleas & we should like anything certainly the plumbagos & especially a few cyclamens: if there isnt room a few things cant hurt our vines—5 I am off to see about the registering

Lovely day—Amy sends her love

Your affec son

F. D.6

The proofmaniac

There is a book these folks like v much called “Six Months in the Sandwich Islands by Isabella Bird.7

The mg paper pinned to first page8


The year is established by the reference to proofs; CD began receiving proof-sheets of Insectivorous plants in April 1875 (see letter to J. V. Carus, 19 April [1875], and letter from R. F. Cooke, 21 April 1875).
Francis had received the proofs of a chapter of Insectivorous plants (see letter to Francis Darwin, 30 April [1875]).
CD had asked Francis to correct an error in the number of milligrams given on p. 86 of the proof-sheets of Insectivorous plants (see letter to Francis Darwin, 30 April [1875]). This does not correlate with page 86 of the published book.
The advice has not been found.
Following their marriage in July 1874, Amy and Francis Darwin had moved into Down Lodge (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1874); the plants that Francis mentions to Emma Darwin may have been intended for the garden there.
Francis made a joke about proofreading by using several copy-editing symbols when signing his initials. See plate on p. QQQQ.
Francis probably refers to the Ruck family (his in-laws, with whom he was staying in Wales). He may have mentioned their opinion of Isabella Lucy Bird’s work on Hawaii (Bird 1875) because he knew that Emma Darwin considered Bird ‘such a romancer’ that it made her not worth reading (letter from Emma Darwin to William Darwin, [5 March 1875] (DAR 219.1: 88)).
See n. 3, above.


Bird, Isabella Lucy. 1875. The Hawaiian archipelago: six months among the palm groves, coral reefs, and volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands. London: John Murray.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Proofs arrived and Francis is correcting them. Tells Emma Darwin that Amy is delighted about the azaleas. The Ruck family very much like Isabella Bird’s Six months in the Sandwich Islands.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 31
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9961F,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23