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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ellen Frances Lubbock   [1867–8?]1

Dear Mr. Darwin

When you spoke of studying expression, I fancied you meant that of feature— It occurs to me that you may allude to forms of speech: but however, in case my first idea was right, I have turned down a page of “Adam Bede” which may interest you, if you had forgotten it—2 It is painful to feel that one can only be referred to as a student of works of fiction— but after a dose of Relationships, one requires a “halfpenny worth of bread to all that sack”.3 And at any rate, the line I have taken in literature is thoroughly novel.

It was such a pleasure to see you & Mrs. Darwin this morning. If you knew how great, I think you would come oftener.

Believe me yours most truly | Ellen Lubbock

Page 132.4 I have put a cross.


The date range is conjectured from the reference to CD studying expression and by the quotation (see nn. 2 and 4, below). Most of CD’s research on expression in children was carried out from 1867 to 1868.
The reference is to Adam Bede (Eliot 1859). The book went through several editions during Eliot’s lifetime (for more on the editions, see Eliot 2001, pp. liv–lxxxvii).
The quotation is from Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1, 2.4.
The quotation referred to is probably ‘Totty showed her teeth and wrinkled her nose in great glee’, which occurs on page 131 of the first volume in most editions, near the end of chapter 7. The character ‘Totty’ is a young child in Eliot 1859.


Has marked a page from Adam Bede which may be relevant to CD’s work on expression.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ellen Frances Hordern/Ellen Frances Lubbock
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 227–228
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7065,” accessed on 23 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)