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Letter 163

Darwin, C. S. to Darwin, C. R.

12 & 29 Mar [1832]

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    Describes the gathering at Maer and the events culminating in Charlotte Wedgwood's marriage to Charles Langton.

Transcription

Maer—

March 12th| Monday.

My dear Charles—

Susan sent off her letter by the first Tuesday of this month directed to Rio as we have not yet had any fresh direction from you. We are in daily hopes of a letter from Madeira as it is high time we calculate for a letter & we are getting very impatient my dear Tactus to hear from you— I mean to fill this letter very much with Maer news. I am only afraid a letter without a new marriage will be very flat. I came here last Tuesday & found all the family at home & two Miss Tollets who however only staid one day to my great joy, for they are such talkers that I felt it vain to try to get a share & listening without talking oneself is dull work comparitivly—as we have often agreed.— On Thursday Mr. Baugh Allen arrived to stay alas a fortnight there never was such a tiresome, chattering, conceited, man. Every body here except Aunt Bessy are in despair at this visit & we all agree that when he does leave the room for a few minutes it is like the stilling of a storm (is not that beautifully affected?)— on Friday Mr. Langton arrived, & next Thursday week the marriage is to take place. Jessie also came here on Friday & now I have given you the outline I will tell you all particulars— Charlotte Fanny & Emma went to meet Mr. Langton who was to come per coach to Newcastle, which Charlotte was vy glad to do, to escape a public meeting with him: I returned to be in the room to see Uncle Jos's first greeting with him & to avoid a seperate introduction myself— We dined late & at 6--the coach arrived—all the family shook hands with him in a very nice & friendly manner— C. F & E all then went to dress & Mr Langton & Uncle Jos & Mr B. Allen stood talking of the weather an endless time. poor Mr L saying it was ``cold, remarkably cold,'' & then it had been ``a fine day, particularly fine'' & bright &c. all repeating each other & contradicting each other in the most agonitic way till at length Uncle Jos took the unfortunate man to his room to dress. Uncle Jos said afterwards that he could not think ``what bewitched Mr L. to stand talking instead of going'' & we all of course raised an outcry & said it was he himself who was to blame—& not Mr Langton I suppose this long waiting for dinner did not agree with the constitution of the family, for when we did at length go to dinner at 7. oClock, Uncle Jos. never spoke, nor did Jos.— Mr. L. was shy & constrained & not having had the advantage of a family sketch (such as you gave William Fox) I dare say thought this silence very strange & possibly an incivility to himself. he is like W. F a very polite ceremonious man & really very well bred & gentlemanlike— Frank I suppose thought the family awe struck by Mr. L. & inclined to pay him too much attention— Frank but seldom addressed him & when he did, usually some ultra radical sentiment— When the toasted cheese was handed round Frank thought Mr Langton had not been offered any, so he took a plate as you would take a flat stone & made it skim across the table towards Mr. L & then asked him whether he chose to take any— After dinner Uncle Jos who is not quite well lay down on the sofa & read all evening & Jos lolled on the arm chair opposite & literally they neither of them spoke all evening or once addressed Mr. L which considering its being his first evening & the situation he was in I do think the most extraordinary piece of want of politeness I ever witnessed. The girls were all sadly annoyed particularly poor Charlotte the evening was very flat & constrained— Yesterday & Sunday went off much better, & dinner went off also very well. Harry came from the Stafford assizes & talked away. Frank was gone to pay a visit to Miss Mosely, so there were no plates flung across the table. One plate made a tremendous crash on the table slipping out of Jos's hands in such an odd manner that Harry afterwards asked if Jos was tossing the plate up to see whether Heads or tails came down— however he talked away very well to Mr. L. & I still think when he does talk—he appears to much better advantage than most of his brothers. Mr Langton is I think a very agreeable man with the most pleasing countenance & manner I have often seen—his reading prayers & the bible last night was quite beautiful. Charlotte is looking so pretty & so happy & proud of Mr L it is a pleasure to see her & I do think when you get to know Mr Langton you will be as glad as we are that she has met him— they have taken a house for a year in Surey at Ripley— Franks Miss Mosly by all accounts has nothing very pleasing about her. She is good-humoured they say & very fond of Frank— it is settled they are to live at Etruria & Harry & Jessie to take some other house in the neighbrhd much to Jessies joy— Mr. Paget Mosley—the brother, people think is rather taken with Fanny, he always singled her out to drink wine wine with & he watches her & remarks on all her little ways he did a very odd thing which if I can, without a grand prose I will tell you. He found out the day Mr Langton was expected who he had never seen— he got upon the Coach & went 5 miles with him, after a time he entered into conversation, made some allusion to who Mr L. was, by saying ``you will be late for dinner &c.—'' then wished him joy, said he believed Charlottes white bonnet was not yet arrived—then praised her singing & after a pause said ``Fanny sings very well also''. Mr. L. doubted, but Mr Paget persisted & afterwards they remembered Fanny had one night joined in some grand finale in Figaro— I think considering how little Mr. Mosely knew of the Maer family & what a slight connexion he had with Mr Langton through this acquaintance this conversation was most extraordinary— On the 20th. the party began to collect for the wedding. Catherine came. Mr. Secker with Harry from the assizes. Mrs Tollet & 3 daughters came to tea on 21st. the young ladies in high spirits— Ellen Tollet made such a noise laughing & chattering that Uncle Jos grew quite cross, & left the room Charlotte looked remarkably pretty but very silent & seemed overcome & wished the party had not been so large. Mr Langton's manner was very nice & attentive w<ithou>t being disagreeably so— the next morning we all assemb<led> in the drawing room between 9 & 10. there were two tab<les> with tea & coffee for those who chose to t<ake> any thing before going to church— Aunt Sarah & Miss Mosy then arrived. the room looked so odd every body standing about in little groups, all gaily dressed. Charlotte in white silk bonnet & green pelisse— At 10 the glass doors were opened in the porch & we all set out Mr Langton & Mrs Tollet heading the procession & we all followed in pairs 7 couples then Uncle Jos & Charlotte & the bridesmaids. poor Emma was ill with a feverish attack & not able to attend. Robert officiated & people said very well—the little church looked very full & gay. Uncle Jos said afterwards he thought Charlottes behaviour quite perfect.— When we got back to Maer we all went to breakfast in the dining room a long table covered with confectionery meats tea etc. it was a very noisy pleasant breakfast & a little before 12 Mr & Mrs Langton drove off. I have not heard from Charlotte since she got to Ripley— the next day Cath & I came home, & I enjoy the quiet and repose very much— Fanny Owens marriage is put off for a few weeks—the next letter you will hear those particulars. Have you been told of Lucy Galton's marriage to Mr. James Moilliet. they were married yesterday & I am sure you must think Mr. Moilliet a happy man—. I have not heard lately of the Foxes— One more marriage I must tell Yesterday there was a paragraph in the Shrewsbury paper saying the licence & ring bought & 2 persons coming to be married at St. Chads when suddenly the bride groom changed his mind & positively refused the clergyman Mr Compson expostulated all in vain— Mark proved to be the Hero & our Laundry maid the heroine. Nobody had an idea they were going to be married & we have had no explanation of this odd behaviour of Marks. they were really we find married this morning— I have no more family news, except poor Pincher has cut the sinew of his foot with a glass bottle & they fear will be lame for life— My Father is very well & takes great pleasure in the Hot house which answers very well & the green house is filled with pretty gay flowers from it— Marianne is here she will write a flap to you— We hear that in some paper the Beagle was mentioned, but stupid Mrs. Sneyd can neither tell us what was said nor where nor when. My dear Charles I do so long to hear of you every day I cannot help expecting & hoping for a letter— poor Nancy nurses Mariannes baby Charles & I believe crys over your past baby days. < > Papa & we often and often talk of you & hope you have quite got over sea sickness & are well & enjoying yourself most thoroughly but I still build upon the hope you will be content with out staying the whole time with the expedition—

God bless you my very dear Charles Papas and all our kindest love | Ever yr affectionate | Caroline Darwin *S 2

March 29th | 1832.

My dear Charles

I have begged for a flap. I have often longed to write to you to tell you how often & how much I have thought of you, but I shall not undertake to be one of your correspondents, my letters would be too dull to send you & you will hear of any great events happening to me such as the birth of Children &c from here—& you must not think dear Charles that I forget you— Parky learns his Geography lessons by where Uncle Charles is going to— We long for a letter from you as you may well suppose— Caroline has told you all the news to be told—

Good bye & God bless you | My dear Charles— Yrs. ever & very affec | M P.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 163.f1
    Isaac Onslow Secker.
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    f2 163.f2
    Robert Wedgwood.
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    f3 163.f3
    Mark Briggs and Anne Latham were married on 31 March 1832 (St Chad's, Shrewsbury, marriage register). Mark was the Darwin family's coachman (Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 13).
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    f4 163.f4
    The Sneyds of Keele, Staffordshire, were friends of the Darwin family.
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