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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   18 October 1867


Oct. 18/67.

Dear old Darwin

I find myself obliged to put off half my visit to you. The Governess has gone away for her holiday, & my wife finds the nurse not to her trust, & what with this & the boys home for the holidays, she wants more help in the house, so I have to go to Bath on Saturday to bring up a friend of her’s, who will help her.1 Moreover she does not like the nurse, with reason I think, & wants to get rid of her, but has not grounds enough for a dismissal; & as I think it not safe to let the nurse have the child after she has warning, I have advised her to take the child to Hastings for change of air, leaving nurse here, & writing up to dismiss her from thence—2 This is an ugly ruse to play, but it must be done & a prudent friend in the house will be a great help to her. The whole thing is a horrid bore

If the weather is fine Willy & I will run down on Sunday morning to Bromley with our nightshirts in our pockets & walk across Holwood park—3

Ever aff | J D Hooker


Hooker refers to Frances Harriet Hooker and to his sons William Henslow Hooker, aged 14, Charles Paget Hooker, aged 12, and possibly Brian Harvey Hodgson Hooker, aged 7. The governess, nurse, and friend have not been identified.
The Hookers’s youngest child, Reginald Hawthorn Hooker, was ten months old.
Hooker refers to the estate attached to Holwood House, the home of CD’s neighbour, Robert Monsey Rolfe, Lord Cranworth. Holwood House was about a mile and a half north-west of Down House (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1866 s.v. Keston [Kent]).


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.


Must cut short visit to Down because of domestic problems.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 102: 180–1
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5651,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

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