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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. F. Lubbock   [after 7 April 1873?]1

High Elms, | Beckenham, | Kent.

Dear Mr. Darwin

You are always so kind about my little observations,— which might be better worth noticing if I could see— that I am emboldened to mention a Pug, of which I am the proud possessor. He has very strong affections, which being combined with an exceedingly stiff & curly tail, put him into awkward predicaments. When he is extra affectionate, he lies on his back, & however much he might wish, couldn’t possibly get at his tail, & so, as he must apparently wag something, he wags one of his hind legs.2

I hear John has seen you, & I do hope something will be arranged.3 I go to Brighton today, as people seem to think it will do me good: & it is a kind of native air to me—but I think I am like the patient at the Bull, of whom Mrs. Gamp observed that “native airs, nor native graces neither, won’t bring him round.”4

With love to Mrs. Darwin, I am yours most truly | E.F. Lubbock

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Tyndall | CasparyQQQQ’ pencil


The date is conjectured from the likelihood that this letter has to do partly with the subscription for Thomas Henry Huxley; see n. 3, below.
In Expression, p. 51, CD had discussed tail-wagging in dogs as a sign of affection and noted, ‘the essence of the expression lies in the continuous flexuous movements’.
Lubbock refers to her husband, John Lubbock, and probably to discussions about raising a subscription for Thomas Henry Huxley. CD probably saw Lubbock on 7 April 1873 (see letter from G. H. Darwin to John Tyndall, [7 April 1873] and n. 3).
The reference is to Charles Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit (Dickens 1844, p. 347).


Observations on her pet pug.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ellen Frances Lubbock
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
High Elms
Source of text
DAR 170: 15
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8699,” accessed on 25 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21