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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. M. Herbert   13 January [1839]


Sunday 13 Jary.

My dear Darwin,

In sending you the accompanying species of the Genus Forficula,1 (Do I betray my ignorance of Natural History by the Expression?), I hope I have hit upon a useful domestic article, & at the same time one that will not clash with the Forget-me-nots of other Friends.

When under ordinary circumstances a man marries, it imposes upon his friends the serious burden of saying all the civil things they can think of— In obedience to to this custom I must say something on the occasion of yr. signing & sealing the surrender of your independence; but, thank God, it is unnecessary for me to measure either my esteem for you, or my wishes for yr. future happiness, by the set forms of compliment, or I might find them untranslateable into the language of the Polite Letter Writer—

I shall content myself therefore with praying God’s blessing on you & yours, & with wishing you all the happiness, that I think you deserve— a cup of joy full to overflowing—

Yrs. ever | J. M. Herbert


As explained in the letter to Emma Wedgwood, [20 January 1839], the ‘Forficula’ (Latin for ‘earwig’) was a silver utensil for serving asparagus.


Sends congratulations on CD’s engagement, with a gift.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Maurice Herbert
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 168
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 487,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2