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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Varenne Reed   15 September [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Sept 15th

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for your note & kind enquiries about our poor eldest daughter.—   she steadily, but very slowly, improves improves in health; & as she has a wish to try sea-air, we all move to sea-side in a few days‘ time.—2 On our return I shall be most glad to take advantage of your kindness & send Leonard twice a week to you.3 As he is rather slow & backward (in part owing to loss of time from ill-health) it has occurred to us, that if it did not prove inconvenient to you, it might be better (until the days became too short,) for him to come to you on any two days in the afternoon a little before 3 oclock after his dinner. For by this means he would not lose his whole mornings, & he has much to make up. Frank, though put in a rather low form, keeps at the top in every subject;4 & I am rather glad, considering his susceptibility, that he was put rather low, so as to master thoroughily all he has to do.—

I see by my accounts that my two Boys came to you for a fortnight after the last quarter was paid & I suppose it will be fair if I include this time in the next quarter, or ought broken time to rank as a full quarter—   Perhaps you will kindly at some future time inform me.—   I will let you know when we return in about a month’s time; & then you can, if you please, let me hear about the afternoons for a month or so.—

With very sincere thanks for all your kindness & with our best compliments to Mrs Reed. Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


Dated by CD’s reference to a trip to the seaside (see n. 2, below).
The Darwins took Henrietta Emma Darwin and the other children to Eastbourne, Sussex, in late September 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
CD first asked Reed about beginning to tutor Leonard Darwin in July 1859. See Correspondence vol. 7, letter to G. V. Reed, 1 July [1859].
Francis Darwin, formerly tutored by Reed, entered Clapham Grammar School in the summer of 1860 (J. R. Moore 1977, p. 53).


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

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.


The family will move to sea-side because of his daughter Henrietta’s health. When they return he will be glad to send Leonard twice a week for tutoring. Frank is in a low form at school but is doing very well.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Varenne Reed
Sent from
Source of text
Buckinghamshire Record Office (D22.39.4)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2918,” accessed on 26 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8