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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. E. Litchfield   4 September [1871]1


Sept. 4th

My dearest Etty,

I must write to say how much your nice & affectionate letter from Dover has pleased me.2 From your earliest years you have given me so much pleasure & happiness that you well deserve all the happiness that is possible in return; & I do believe that you are in right way for obtaining it.— I was a favourite of yours before the time when you can remember. How well I can call to mind how proud I was when at Shrewsbury after an absence of a week or fortnight, you would come & sit on my knee, & there you sat for a long time, looking as solemn as a little judge.— Well it is an awful & astounding fact that you are married; & I shall miss you sadly.3 But there is no help for that, & I have had my day & a happy life, notwithstanding my stomach; & this I owe almost entirely to our dear old mother, who, as you know well, is as good as twice refined gold. Keep her as an example before your eyes, & then Litchfield will in future years worship & not only love you, as I worship our dear old mother.

Farewell my dear Etty.— I shall not look at you as a really married woman, until you are in your own house. It is the furniture which does the job. | Farewell | Your affectionate Father | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Henrietta’s wedding (see n. 3, below).
Henrietta’s letter has not been found.
Henrietta married Richard Buckley Litchfield on 31 August 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


An affectionate letter to HL on her honeymoon. Urges her to keep her mother as an example.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Add MS 58373)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7922,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19