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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood   25 December [1860?]1

Christmas day

Dear Charles

Charlotte2 reports from Mr Wallis3 that he only once saw sundew open— he mentioned the time & place, but was sorry he could not recollect the time of day— he took so⁠⟨⁠me⁠⟩⁠ home & kept ⁠⟨⁠two words missing⁠⟩⁠ he never s⁠⟨⁠aw it⁠⟩⁠ open again.— It was a long time ago— he said he understood they did open some time in the day, but did not know at what hour. Smith4 says nothing about ⁠⟨⁠it. He s⁠⟩⁠eems to know ⁠⟨⁠very lit⁠⟩⁠tle, for he says


The year is inferred from the reference to William Wallis, whom CD first met in 1860 while visiting Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, Emma Darwin’s sister, in Sussex. See ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).
Charlotte Langton, Emma’s other sister, also lived in Hartfield, Sussex.
William Wallis was the surgeon of Hartfield and an orchid collector. He had assisted CD in his study of orchids and of the sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) when the Darwins visited Hartfield in July 1860. See letters to J. D. Hooker, 29 July [1860], and to W. E. Darwin, [30 July 1860].
Probably Frederick Smith, a farmer residing at Thornhill farm, Hartfield, Sussex (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859).


Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Charlotte [Wedgwood Langton?] reports from Mr Wallis on time of day that sundew opens.

Letter details

Letter no.
Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181
Physical description
& damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3030,” accessed on 26 October 2021,

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