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Letter 155

Wedgwood, Charlotte to Darwin, C. R.

12 & 29 Jan & 1 Feb 1832

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    Writes about Hensleigh Wedgwood's marriage to Frances Mackintosh and her own engagement to Charles Langton. Also gives news of other relatives and friends.

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Dulwich

Jany 12— 1832

My dear Charles

I think it will be a very good opportunity to begin a letter to you, having a quiet hour to spend here before we return to that most idle & bustling of houses, Roehampton. I believe this will be at Rio long enough before you without allowing for your being blown back two or three more times before our shores are fairly quit of you, but that is no matter & I cannot afford to let slip the opportunity of a wedding in the family as at the rate they have hitherto gone on at there is no chance of another occurring before you have finished your voyage round the world—as they are such very rare occurences it is a good plan that we are upon of doing up two members of the family at once tho on the other hand cousins marrying is a very humdrum affair & affords very little interest or entertainment— I am very much of Fanny M's maid's opinion, who being asked what she thought of her lady's marriage said ``Well ma'am I think it wont make much difference''. I am very glad it is over—they must feel so comfortable & at leisure now that the disagreeable interval since the time it was fixed is passed which was filled with nothing but tiresome settlings, moving of houses, & all sorts of plagues & Hensleigh between them & his new Magisterial duties was beginning to look worn out— he had been very unwell all the week & was in bed Sunday & Monday morning being to be married on Tuesday & he thought himself so bad that he had written a note, to say that the marriage must be put off a couple of days when luckily his doctor arrived, told him he was quite well, recommended him some mutton chops & wine which so restored him that his note was burnt, & he appeared at dinner time in very good condition for his execution next day—the only serious consequence of his taking to his bed was his writing to Fanny that she must get the wedding ring, an indignity that I should suppose had never been put upon a bride before— however she was obliged to submit & sent out one of the Thorntons for it— this was not the last indignity she was obliged to submit to neither, for first her gown did not arrive in time & she was obliged to strip one of her bridesmaids & be married in a borrowed one, & still worse she had to wait what seemed a long time in the church before the bridegroom made his appearance, & we began to be afraid he had taken to his bed again—however he appeared at last in very good case & accounted for the delay by his having a pair of hearse horses, `a bad omen, and having to set down Judge Alderson at his chambers, & bad as this beginning was, for the rest of the time he cut a very good figure & he & the bride both took off their spectacles for the ceremony. There were eight carriages the servants with enormous favours which brought us a rebuke from the superior taste of an old dirty woman in the crowd, who said, ``Well if she had been going to be married she would have kept those things out of sight & not collected a crowd about her'' There was a grand breakfast afterwards at which Lady Gifford presided 42 at table consisting besides all the branches of the family, of Thorntons innumerable besides a few other friends Before we went to church Sir James made me stuff a vol: of a new novel into his pocket I did not see what opportunity he had of reading it.

Jan 29th My letter has been lying by a little more than a fortnight— how little I thought when I put it by what would be the next piece of intelligence that I should add to it—nothing less than that I am engaged to be married— I am afraid you will think part of what I wrote at the beginning of this very deceitful, but I do assure you it was not— I had not the least notion then of what was going to happen to me & that I should ever be married seemed to me the most improbable thing possible. You will have most likely heard this news in some of your other letters but you will like to hear more about it from me. When Emma and I arrived at Roehampton we found Mr Charles Langton staying there— he is nephew of the Mr Langton who married Marianne Drewe and is guardian to his son Bennet who always spends his holidays at Lady Giffords and it was to be with him during his holidays that Mr Langton spent this Christmas at Roehampton. He is a clergyman but has no living & has only a very small income now, but he was tutor to Lord Craven who has many livings in his gift & he has no doubt that he shall have one of them— he has also a rich grandmother so that he will be well off in future tho he is poor now. Some of Lord Craven's livings are in Shropshire & in very pretty parts of Shropshire—this will be delightful for me if Mr Langton ever gets one of them—to fall by chance so near home & Shrewsbury would be high good luck. For the present we are going to take a house in Surrey near Guildford—it will be very pleasant to be within reach of London. Emma likes Mr L almost as much as I do & was delighted when he proposed to me, which I tell you because you will think her a more impartial judge than me. I looked forward to seeing you established in your parsonage but now I suppose I shall receive you first in mine. I think it is the happiest life in the world & I hope dear Charles that we shall hereafter compare notes upon it when we have both tried it & found it as happy or nearly as happy as we expect. In looking forward to it myself & thinking of its advantages I feel more anxious that you should finish all your wanderings by settling down as a clergyman but it must be as a really good active religious clergyman, (you know you gave me leave to preach) in that only can the happiness consist, & if I did not think Mr Langton would be all that, I think I would rather he were any thing but a clergyman. I feel a delightful trust in his high principles & kind nature which gives me a feeling of security that I have done what was wise as well as what was agreeable— it seems a very short time since I first saw him for me to judge so confidently of him & yet I do not feel the less secure for that. I am sure that in one respect being going to be married is very like going a voyage round the world—it makes one love all one's friends more than ever & it also makes one find out more affection in all one's friends than one ever knew of before— I have been receiving delightful letters from all mine, & from none more delightful than my dear Caroline— I shall hope to add one from you too to the list I like hearing from you very much, & a letter from you will always be a welcome sight tho with your many correspondents I do not expect it often. I forgot to say that our marriage will be in March. I am sorry I cannot send you any Maer news— My father has had nobody with him for some time but Jos & Frank— Frank sends us very pert acc<ounts> of poor Papa's waterworks, & describes the cunning of the pipes and the wo<rks> in always leading him on to fresh trouble & expense by a shew of success which regularly disappears as soon as their point is gained. My mother & Elizabeth return next week from Cresselly to keep him company & very soon after we shall all return home. We have left Roehampton and are now staying partly with the Mackintoshes & partly with the Aldersons. The Sismondis & Fanny Allen are in town too so that we are a large family party. We had a very pleasant visit with Harriet, she is so thoroughly goodnatured & so eager to do every thing to make it pleasant. Erasmus is watching for a good play for us— we have been to one or two & all that we have done besides is dinners with the friends of the clan, particularly at Dr Holland's who is risen exceedingly with us all & our conscience reproaches us for all that we have said against him— I think he really is improved & I am sure he is very friendly.

(Feb 1st) I hope it will not be long before there is some news from you from some of the islands you are to touch at— I shall like to hear your first impressions of tropical climates & that you are safe so far will be very pleasant to hear— I am surprised how little of an annoyance being cooped up in your little brig appears to be to you, dont take fire at my speaking of it in such terms but in spite of all your admiration at that lovely little vessel I cannot help feeling that it would be very difficult to get so completely rid of all one's notions of comfort as to be reconciled to all the confinement & discomfort of being on board her. I think you must feel that it does you a great deal of good to be made not to mind things, & by the account you give of the ship's company which Caroline shewed me it seems to have just the effect one should expect, of making the officers unselfish & good humoured Mr Langton was a midshipman for one year but did not like it— I am afraid you will certainly think less of him for being such a ``shore going fellow''

It is pleasant to see Hensleigh & Fanny so happy as they seem—they find it much pleasanter than the hanging on state they were in so long. She received yesterday her first grand dinner party, & looked so elegantly dressed & received her company so gracefully that Hensleigh must have been proud of his wife. The lions of the party were two banished Poles, the Brahmin Ramohun Roy & Sydney Smith. The Judge & Georgina with whom I am staying have been very cordial to me & G is risen again very much with me. Goodbye my dear Charles I hope I shall soon hear some news of you from Shrewsbury— God bless you & bring you safe home again Believe me yr very affc | cousin Charlotte Wewd

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 155.f1
    The residence of Lady Gifford, née Harriet Drewe, was in Roehampton. She was related to the Wedgwoods, Mackintoshes, and Darwins through her mother, Caroline Allen.
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    f2 155.f2
    Hensleigh Wedgwood's appointment to a police magistracy in December 1831 made possible his marriage to Fanny Mackintosh (Emma Darwin 1: 242--3).
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    f3 155.f3
    Friends of Fanny Mackintosh (ibid., 1: 186).
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    f4 155.f4
    Edward Hall Alderson, married to Georgina Drewe, Lady Gifford's sister.
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    f5 155.f5
    Algernon Langton.
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    f6 155.f6
    William, 2d Earl of Craven. In December 1832 Charles Langton obtained a living from him as Rector of Onibury, Shropshire (Emma Darwin 1: 254).
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    f7 155.f7
    Cresselly in Pembrokeshire, the family seat of the John Bartlett Allens.
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    f8 155.f8
    Ram Mohan Roy, an advocate of social and religious reforms in India, was lionised by English liberals.
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