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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Varenne Reed   8 September [1856]1

Down Kent

Sept. 8th.—

My dear Sir

As you met George at the Crystal Palace, you know that he has been at home with us for a couple of days.2 I have been ascertaining how he gets on & I find that he is not nearly so low in the school as I anticipated. & I find that in all those parts of his lessons, which shows that he has been well grounded he keeps at the top of his Class, & as I owe this to your kind labours, I cannot resist the great pleasure of again returning to you my cordial thanks3

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely & obliged | Ch. Darwin

Pray do not trouble yourself to acknowledge this note.—


The year of the letter is established by an entry in Emma Darwin’s diary for 5 September 1856 that reads: ‘G. came from school the boys meet him at the Crystal Palace’.
George Howard Darwin came home on 5 September and returned to Clapham Grammar School on 8 September (Emma Darwin’s diary).
George Varenne Reed had been George Darwin’s tutor before he entered Clapham School. CD later sent Francis, Leonard, and Horace to Reed (see J. R. Moore 1977).


Moore, James Richard. 1977. On the education of Darwin’s sons: the correspondence between Charles Darwin and the Reverend G. V. Reed, 1857–1864. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 32 (1977–8): 51–70.


George is not so low at school as CD anticipated. He keeps at the top of his class, thanks to GVR’s labours.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Varenne Reed
Sent from
Source of text
Buckinghamshire Record Office (D22/39/1)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2139,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6