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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [5 February 1846]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

I got your note, just as I was setting out for the Geolog. Council.—2 Your invitation has tempted me much; owing to the Horners’ coming here Tuesday or Wednesday is the first day I cd. come. But will you oblige me by sending me one line to say whether Gay3 speaks English, for to my shame & utter disgrace I cannot speak French. When in Chile I talked with him in Spanish & I now have forgotten that! So that if he cannot speak English, it wd be quite disagreeable to meet him & I wd much prefer visiting you in Spring, when the 4 to 5 hour’s drive would be pleasanter.

If he does not speak English & therefore I do not come, pray remember me very kindly to him (though perhaps he has quite forgotten me) & say I remember with much pleasure our short interviews.— I shd also much like to see Mr Miers.—4 If I come, I will, (if convenient to you) come about 4 oclock on Wednesday & return the middle of the next day.— You cannot well imagine what a bold step I feel this, I literally have not slept out of near relations house or inn for five years!!

I have not thanked you for a long & as usual interesting letter, received some time since

Ever most truly yrs | C. Darwin


For the basis of the date see n. 2, below.
CD’s Account Book (Down House MS) records a payment on 6 February for a trip to London.
Claude Gay, who had travelled extensively in Chile during 1830 and 1831.
John Miers, who worked as a botanist and engineer in South America, 1819–38. CD’s copy of Miers’ account of his travels (Miers 1826) is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Miers, John. 1826. Travels in Chile and La Plata, including accounts respecting the geography, geology, statistics, government, finances, agriculture, manners and customs, and the mining operations in Chile. 2 vols. London.


Will come to visit Kew if Claude Gay speaks English. Otherwise would prefer to wait until spring.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 51
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 948,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3