RECORD: Anon. 1883. Darwin's handwriting. The Field Naturalist p. 78.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, OCRed and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2008. RN3

[page] 78

Darwin's Handwriting.

Professor Otto Zacharias contributes to Spemann's magazine, "Vom Fels und Meer," a sketch of the life of the late Charles Darwin. It is accompanied by a facsimile of a page of Darwin's handwriting.1 The entire letter is printed, and it is noteworthy that although so brief there are two places in which Professor Zacharias has not been able to make out what the words are. It runs as follows:—

Down, Beckenham, Kent,

Railway Station,

Orpington, S.E.R.

My Dear Sir,—I am sorry to say that I have not osteological knowledge enough for my opinion to be of any value with respect to the anomalous foot of the pig, which you have been so good as to send me. I do not know whether it has arrived at Down, for I am at present away from home; but when it arrives I will send it to Prof. Flower, at the Royal College of Surgeons, who has made a special study of the limbs of the Ungulate, and who is most careful and [two words here that cannot be deciphered.]2 I have asked him to send me a note, if the foot presents any remarkable peculiarity, and [another undecipherable word.]3 I receive any such note I will forward it to you.

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully, April 26th, 1877. CHARLES DARWIN                       

This is interesting if only as showing the difficulties which obscure writing may occasion.

1 Zacharias 1882. See Calendar 10941.

2 The missing words are 'admirable observer'.

3 The missing word is 'should '.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 2 July, 2012