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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Jane Loring Gray   14 February 1870

Botanic Garden, Cambridge

Feb. 14— ’70—

My dear Mr. Darwin,

Dr. Gray says, “You write & tell about the dog!”—1 And indeed it was only a supposition of mine that he was suckled by a cat, from his queer tricks when he came to us, a young dog of about 7 months old— He then would chase his own tail for sport; but I have heard of other dogs doing that— But he still keeps up the trick of washing his face with his paws, & will sit as demurely as any old tabby, licking one paw & rubbing his face, & then changing to the other— I am glad if he has any tricks worth noticing, for he is a stupid little doggie at learning anything new, & has nothing but an affectionate heart & some beauty to recommend him— He came to us through one or two transfers, so I cannot know much about his puppyhood; but the lady who gave him to us is coming here this week, & I will ask her if she can find out anything about it—

I wish you had told us something how you were, but I hope you are as well at least as when we last saw you— And finding winter not too severe upon you—

As for us I can’t say that having no winter one year, makes coming back to it any more delightful— Snow & ice & slush & mud, for we are enough on the shore to have our cold turns soon followed by a thaw, are delightful to young people, who can skate & coast & walk & ride, but I have got to an age when I prefer dry roads & green trees & fresh turf!—

Dr. Gray is busy as ever; & astonishing his old friends & puzzling them very much as an “Arab Sheykh,” as our Greek Professor, Mr. Sophocles calls him—2 He seems very well—

I wish I could tell you & Mrs. Darwin what delightful recollections we keep of you all & your charming home—3 I assure you I am a woman of consideration that I have seen Mr. Darwin!—

Pray remember us most cordially to all your circle— | Very faithfully | Yours, Jane L. Gray

CD annotations

1.3 about 7 months] underl blue crayon
1.3 He … doing that— 1.4] del blue crayon
1.6 I am … puppyhood; 1.9] crossed blue crayon
2.1 I wish … circle— 6.1] crossed blue crayon
Top of letter: ‘To stay all [month] | p. 14’ blue crayon


Jane Loring Gray refers to Evangelinus Apostolides Sophocles, Harvard professor of ancient, Byzantine, and modern Greek. The Grays had travelled in Egypt in 1869, and become ‘specially fond of Arabs’ (Correspondence vol. 17, letter from Asa and J. L. Gray, 8 and 9 May 1869).
The Grays had visited Down on 28 August 1869 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


About a dog she supposes was suckled by a cat, since it washes its face with its paws.

Letter details

Letter no.
Jane Loring Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Mass.
Source of text
DAR 80: 162–3
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7104,” accessed on 9 February 2023,

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