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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Maurice Herbert   [1 January 1837]

Sunday night

My dear old Herbert.

As I have not seen you to wish you good bye in propriâ personâ, I must do it, on paper. for I suppose you will not be in Cambridge at the latter end of the week when I return.—1 I do not know when I have spent a merrier evening than yesterdays. It was like the old times, sitting by you & hearing prodigies. I shall not in a hurry forget your awful appearance, as you lay on the sofa with a great snow ball in the place of your head. Jem2 certainly victimized you in capital style. I suppose we shall have the Gentleman in the Plaid Coat, hawking “this is the head of that well know character—fellow of St Johns3 &c & c.” I certainly will put my name down for a proof before letter4 if there are such things— I was wishing so much that we had agreed to take a walk. I went into Kings & heard Saul’s dead March.— What a glorious sight the whole is.— I never formerly knew how properly to admire it.

Adios, you best of good old Fellows | Chas. Darwin. 3. Fitz William St. 5


On 4 January 1837, CD read his paper on ‘Observations of proofs of recent elevation on the coast of Chili’ to the Geological Society of London (Collected papers 1: 41–3).
James Richard Holden.
Herbert had been elected Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge in 1832 (Alum. Cantab.).
Proofs made from the plates of an engraving before the ordinary printing.
Now 22 Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge, where CD lived until March 1837. Saul’s Dead March: the ‘Dead march’ from George Frideric Handel’s oratorio, Saul.


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

‘Elevation on the coast of Chili’: Observations of proofs of recent elevation on the coast of Chili, made during the survey of His Majesty’s ship Beagle, commanded by Capt. FitzRoy, R.N. [Read 4 January 1837.] By Charles Darwin. Proceedings of the Geological Society of London 2 (1838): 446–9. [Shorter publications, pp. 32–5.]


Enjoyed the merry evening with JMH.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Maurice Herbert
Sent from
London, Fitzwilliam St, 3
Source of text
Natural History Museum
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 339,” accessed on 1 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2