RECORD: Norton, Charles Eliot. [1869-1873]. [Recollections of Darwin]. In Norton, C. E. 1913. Letters of Charles Eliot Norton. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin, vol. 1: 309, 445, 476-477.

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe 11.2010. RN1

NOTE: Part of this recollection is reprinted in Thomas Glick, What about Darwin? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2010.

[page] 309

[Letter to John Ruskin]

September 9, 1869. Kenton Rectory

We have seen Darwin several times during the last ten days. He is a delightful person from his simplicity, sweetness and strength ... His face is massive, with little beauty of feature but much of expression. He has a lively humour, and a cheerful, friendly manner. I hope you will return soon enough to meet him here.

[page] 445

Sunday, December 22, 1872

Lunched with Jane at Mr. Erasmus Darwin's. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin were there, but Mr. Darwin was too unwell to be seen.

[page] 476

Last Sunday, April 5 [1873], Grace and I lunched with the

[page] 477

Darwins, who are spending a few weeks in town, in a house in Montagu Street. Mr. Darwin was even more than usually pleasant: his modesty, his simplicity, his geniality of temper, the pleasant unaffected animation of his manners, are always delightful; but on Sunday there was a tenderness in his expression, and he was in better health for the day than common. His talk is not often memorable on account of brilliant or impressive sayings, but it is always the expression of the qualities of mind and heart which combine in such rare excellence in his genius.

Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908), American author and critic.

This document has been accessed 707 times

Return to homepage

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

File last updated 2 July, 2012