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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Marian Evans   30 March [1873]1

16, Montague St | Portman Sq

March 30th.—

My dear Mrs. Lewes.

I hope that you will forgive me for venturing to beg a great favour. Yours & Mr. Lewes’ kindness towards me when I have called is my sole & rather poor excuse.2 My eldest daughter & her husband, Mr. Litchfield,3 have the strongest wish to be allowed to call on you some Sunday evening.— I think that it will be some recommendation of Mr. Litchfield when I tell you that he has aided in every possible way during many years the Working Mens College; having first taught mathematiks & of late music & singing.— If you will grant your permission, the briefest line on a Post-Card will suffice. If I do not hear, I will understand that you have, as is too probable, already too many callers.

I beg leave to remain like so many other englishmen & english women4 | Yours very truly obliged | Charles Darwin

My wife complains that she has been very hardly treated, & that I ought to have asked permission for her to call on you with me when we next come to London; but I tell that I still have some shreds of modesty.—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Marian Evans, 31 March 1873.
CD had first visited Evans and her partner George Henry Lewes in 1868 (Correspondence vol. 16, letters from G. H. Lewes, 12 November 1868 and [17 November 1868], and letters to G. H. Lewes, [13 November 1868] and 18 November 1868).
Henrietta Emma Litchfield and Richard Buckley Litchfield.
CD was an admirer of Evans’s writing; he and his family had read a number of her novels, published under the pseudonym George Eliot, including Adam Bede (Eliot 1859; see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. D. Hooker, [26 May 1859]), Mill on the Floss, and Silas Marner (Eliot 1860 and Eliot 1861; see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to J. D. Hooker, 27 [or 28 September 1865]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Eliot, George. 1859. Adam Bede. 3 vols. Edinburgh: William Blackwood.

Eliot, George. 1860. The mill on the Floss. 3 vols. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons.

Eliot, George. 1861. Silas Marner: the weaver of Raveloe. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons.


Asks whether the Litchfields may call on her. "My wife complains that she has been very badly treated and that I ought to have asked permission for her to call on you with me when we next come to London: but I tell her that I still have some shreds of modesty."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Marian (Mary Anne) Evans
Sent from
London, Montague St, 16
Source of text
Armacost Library, University of Redlands, California
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8831,” accessed on 16 April 2021,

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