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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. S. Bate   22 October 1871


Oct 22. 71

My dear Mr Darwin

If what I saw in the newspaper the other day be correct as to the work you are at present engaged on, the accompanying annecdote may be useful1   I had it told to me by two persons, my brother & his son, who heard it from Mr. Whatford himself. who is an old surgeon who practised as a dentist & still lives I believe—2

Would annecdotes of this kind be useful to you

Believe me | faithfully yours C. Spence Bate

Mr Whatford who still lives in Brighton—Western road—says that a person came one day to him as a dental patient & once finished asked Mr Whatford if he could do anything for his dog.

The dog had been suffering from toothache. & Mr Whatford put the dog up in his operating chair & took out the tooth— Some time after the same dog had toothache again & he left the man servant with whom he was & came in at the door of Mr Whatfords house & went into the room & got into the operating chair & of his own accord had another tooth out. This surpasses the moral courage of many persons—


A number of local papers, including the Bristol Mercury, 7 October 1871, p. 7, picked up the report in the Athenæum, 30 September 1871, p. 435, of CD’s forthcoming publication on expression (see letter from J. V. Carus, 7 October 1871, n. 1). CD did not use the anecdote in Expression.
Bate’s brother and nephew have not been identified. William Starr Whatford was a practising dentist in Brighton; Bate was also a dentist.


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.


Has read in papers about CD’s forthcoming work [Expression]; sends anecdote about a dog visiting a dentist for relief of a toothache – thus showing "moral courage".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Spence Bate
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 57
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8027,” accessed on 5 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19