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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   26 December 1867


26 Dec 1867

My dear Sir

I am vexed to the heart that you should have occasion to write to me again about this Index.—1 I cannot plead illness, although as I am suffering again from the same pain in the back that laid me up in the summer, no doubt this has impeded my work, but the real cause of delay lies in the nature of the work itself.2 I have, as I told Mr. Murray3 in a note written today, consumed more than half a ream of paper in writing out the analysis of the book.— This part of the business is now completed, however, & the slips are in process of being cut up & sorted,—I shall have a considerable portion in the printer’s Hands on Monday morning.—4

It is now many weeks since I have left off work until at least between 1 & 2 oclock in the morning, but very frequently, either through being utterly worn out, or from some other cause, I have not got through more than a sheet or sheet & a half of your book in 3 or 4 hours.—5 This, I hope is the last letter of this kind I shall have to write—6

Believe me | Your’s very truly | W. S. Dallas.

C. Darwin Esqr


Dallas was compiling the index for Variation. The letter from CD to Dallas has not been found.
In his letter of 4 November 1867, Dallas mentioned that his work had been interrupted by illness during several weeks in the summer of 1867.
John Murray.
Variation was printed in London by William Clowes & Sons.
Dallas had previously written that he was completing nearly three sheets (each consisting of sixteen pages) in five hours (letter from W. S. Dallas, 11 December 1867).
Dallas had written about the difficulties of compiling the index, and about the consequent delay to publication, in his letters of 8, 10, and 11 December 1867.


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


He is vexed that CD has had to write again about the index. He has no excuse except "the nature of the work itself".

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Yorks. Philos. Soc., York
Source of text
DAR 162: 8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5741,” accessed on 26 July 2021,

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