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Darwin Correspondence Project

From V. O. Kovalevsky   14 May 1867

S Petersburg

2/14 May 1867.1

Dear Sir

It is with the fullest acknowledgment of my importunity and with a real repentence of taking away Your precious time by my futile correspondence that, at last, I determined on writing You this letter, but dear Sir, I hope You will forgive me when I say You that all this time, from the receipt of Your very kind message of 2 May, I was quite in a fever of expectation and till this day (14 May, eight days after Your letter) I have not received the proofs You had the goodness to send me.2 All printed matters send to Russia must be sous bande, that is, open at two ends, and if this precaution is neglected, the message will go as a parcel which are very often lost.

I have received very much book-parcels from Mr. Truebner3 and all generally came in five days and very regularly, not one was lost, imagine then what a unhappy occurence that is, that the most dear of all the parcels should be lost by the bad management of the Continental Post Offices   I will patiently(?!!) wait for the printed sheet and pray You, dear Sir to put them simply in ordinary letter covers (as You send Your letters), one sheet in one cover, and send them without prepaying or putting any stamps, direct on my adress; or deliver them to Mr. Truebner whom I shall request to send the sheets as letters and register them.

My adress can be shortened thus: Petite Morskaja, m. Mitkoff (via Belgium)4

The bear skin will go to London by one of the first steamers, but this year the river is covered till yet with ice, and the snow is laying man-high in the woods.5

Yours | very faithfully | W Kowalewsky


Kovalevsky gives both the Julian (2 May) and Gregorian (14 May) calendar dates.
See letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 2 May [1867]. Kovalevsky refers to the proof-sheets of Variation, which he was translating into Russian.
Trübner & Co. were Kovalevsky’s commissioners for English books (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 24 April [1867]).
Kovalevsky had offered to send CD a bearskin (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 24 April [1867]). St Petersburg is at the mouth of the Neva; the Neva was generally frozen between November and April, and was sometimes unnavigable for longer because of ice floes (EB).


EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


The proofs CD sent seem to have been lost in the post. Asks him to send another set by ordinary letter post.

Letter details

Letter no.
Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky (Владимир Онуфриевич Ковалевский)
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
St Petersburg
Source of text
DAR 169: 74
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5536,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15