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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to W. D. Whitney   9 May [1875]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent.

May 9.

Dear Sir,

Mr Darwin begs me to tell you how very sorry he is not to see you here today; the more so as he must give up the hope of doing so on either of the days you mention, when he has engagements which he cannot forego.2

The truth is that he ought to be away from home & taking rest; but he is nearly at the point of finishing his book on Insectivorous Plants & is unwilling to leave it unfinished.3 I may add that he was quite ill last night after the exertion of having some friends in the house.4

He trusts you will give him another chance when next you are in England, & he hopes that you will be here again after your stay abroad & that you will write to him—

My dear Sir | yours very truly | Emma Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Insectivorous plants (see n. 3, below).
CD had invited Whitney to visit him at Down on 9 May 1875 (see telegram to W. D. Whitney, 8 May 1875). Whitney was staying in Ealing, a suburb of London, and hoped to see CD before returning to America, but he and CD did not meet (see letter from G. H. Darwin to W. D. Whitney, 21 December 1875).
CD recorded in his ‘Journal’ that he ‘finished slips of Insectivorous Plants’ on 23 May 1875 (see Appendix II).
Thomas Henry and Katherine Euphemia Farrer and Henrietta Emma and Richard Buckley Litchfield visited on Saturday 8 May 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


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


CD asks her to tell him how sorry he is not to be there to see Whitney today. He hopes that Whitney will give him another chance when next in England.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9974F,” accessed on 19 June 2021,

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