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Letter 185

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

12 Sept 1832

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    News of the Darwin, Wedgwood, and Owen families, including a report on Frances Wedgwood's death.

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[Shrewsbury]

12th September 1832.

My dearest Charles,

Susan wrote by the vessel that went from Falmouth the 3d week of last month as you directed in your last letter dated June. I have it not by me to be accurate about the date, but as Susan has acknowledged it—it does not matter. poor Musters death was very melancholy. I wish he had been spared hearing of his mother's loss. I do hope you are very prudent & do consider the forlorn state you would be in a long bad illness with the miserable accommodation you would have in one of your scrambling expeditions, as indeed you had experience of from what your journal says— I know it is nonsense & ``all foolishness'' to use your own expression writing at this distance wishes & cautions but I must do it dear old Tactus as a relief to myself— You will I know feel very much for the sad loss the poor Maer family have had. About three weeks ago poor Fanny Wedgwood was taken ill with what they thought a sort of billious fever. She seemed very ill for two days with vomitings & pain & then appeared to get better, so much so that not one of the family had an idea she was in danger. 7 days after she became unwell Elizabeth sat up with her at night as she (Fanny) was too restless to sleep, towards morning she seemed cold & more uncomfortable & they sent for the apothecary. he came between 6 & 7 & thought her in gt danger & at 9 oClock she expired. only Elizabeth & Emma were with her as even after seeing the apothecary, from some misunderstanding none of the family had an idea her danger was so immediate. Uncle Jos was terribly over come & Aunt Bessy it was some time before Elizabeth could make her understand what had happened. My Father says mortification must have taken place in her bowels. at the time, the pain ceasing they all thought she was getting well. We had not heard of her illness till we had the letter with the account of her death. I have been very minute in telling all particulars as I know how much interested you are for all the Wedgwoods & you did poor Fanny justice in liking her & valuing her goodness & excellent qualities. She had no idea of her own danger, but as Elizabeth says in her letter to me, ``this could not be needed, for one so pious, so humble & unselfish, & so good in all her feelings''. the loss to Emma will be very great, hardly ever having been separated, all her associations of her pleasures & youth so intimately connected with her. Mr & Mrs Hensleigh were staying at Maer during the time which was fortunate as they have been a comfort to them all. Uncle Jos came over yesterday for a day to see Papa, he was cheerful & apparently much as usual, he says they are all better & cheerful at Maer except Aunt Bessy who they can not make go on with her usual little occupations, she sits by herself & looks very sad & dejected. Mr. Baugh Allen is at Maer & has taken Aunt Bessy a little tour in North Wales in his Carriage for a few days which they think will do her good—and next Saturday Charlotte & Mr Langton come to Maer to make a long stay which will be a great comfort to them all. Charlotte had heard but a slight account of Fannys being unwell before the letter came to tell her what had happened— I had a letter just before from Charlotte speaking with pleasure of a letter she had had from you She was then writing to you but I suppose her letter was not finished before this & very likely you have not heard from her. She says Mr Langton has been most kind & sympathizing in this her first sorrow— I am very much puzzled what home news to tell you, one day passes after another with nothing worth telling to be had from it— however the very best news is that my Father seems quite as well as usual again. he had been as Susan told you unwell for several weeks. he is in very good spirits & amuses himself very well with the hothouse it has quite revived his old interest about flowers. he is going to get a Banana tree principally from your advice— he is giving up his business in great measure he still goes to some people, but it is so generally known that he declines going to any distance that he has now little difficulty in refusing going to see people. A Dr. Goldie is come to Shrewsbury from York highly recommended by Mr Vernon Harcourt & Col. Gooch he seems a sensible man & will be very likely to succeed. we have not yet seen Mrs Goldie— Papa talks of going for a day to Liverpool to see how he bears the fatigue of Lionizing as he has a great wish to go to London which he has so long talked of.— Catherine is staying at Overbury with the Hollands. it is only 5 miles from Dumbleton. she is enjoying her visit there extremely riding & driving about. they are sensible & have nice horses & carriages— She is going a little tour in Derbyshire with them & to pay a visit at Sir T. Denmans & will not return home till the end of the Month— she went to call or dine at the Edward Hollands & said they both looked deadly dull— She suspects Mrs. E Hollands brother Mr John Isaac & Charlotte will soon add another to this year of marriages— Susan goes in a few days to the Hill to meet Jessie who is staying there she has been expecting to go all this week but Harry who is to Chaperon her has been detained by Bankruptcy business & it is uncertain which day he will be here— I hope you still feel a proper interest about Nina & Pincher they are both invalids but convalescent— Pincher cut his foot badly with broken glass but his lameness is nearly cured. poor Nina has had a much worse misfortune—the < > old Coach Horse seized hold of her by the hind leg lifted her up in to the manger & would not let her go for a few seconds—her leg was badly broken & I am afraid the joint injured but she is getting well & does not seem to suffer any pain now. the surgeons who attended her were very goodnatured & I am sure every thing possible was done— The Cholera has been in Shrewsbury now for some weeks but it has been subsiding for the last week & it is now some days since we have heard of any death—they say many people reported to have the Cholera really had not, at least so Mr. Wynn says who of course is infallible—

I am glad to hear at last that idle Erasmus has written to you & I hope you have received the books &c by this time. Captain Beaufort took charge of them— William Fox has recd your letter, he is still staying at the Isle of Wight hoping to get better before winter

Mrs. Williams comes to Woodhouse next Monday. She is become very delicate often unwell. the celebrated Owen constitution has quite failed with her. I shall be very glad to see her again— I have only seen Mrs. Biddulph once since her marriage I was staying at Woodhouse & she rode over & staid 3 hours very pleasent & very pretty. Old Mrs. & Miss Biddulph are staying at Chirk Castle & they are so formal & stupid Fanny says she is wearied to death. I think she seems happy & attached to Mr. B. I can't help thinking he is a very selfish man though I have no great proof.— Francis is staying at Woodhouse as they have not yet got any thing for him— I have written to you since reading your journal which I liked exceedingly. I do hope when you have any safe opportunity you will send us some more of it. it gives us all so much pleasure & interest reading about you & it brings the Country &c in such a lively manner to one— I have never told you dear Charles what great pleasure your most affectionate dear letters give me & us all, you would be I am sure rewarded for the trouble of writing if you saw the delight a letter from you is received with— My Father bids me say yr. money has not been drawn for at the Bank at least had not a fortnight ago—when he enquired. he sends his affectionate love. when you write he wishes you would mention the date of the letters you receive—I mean when < > they are written—as well as when recd.

Harry & Susan went this morning to the Hill— My Father is so spirited that he has settled to go to London in a few weeks with Harry & Edward & he very much enjoys the thoughts of his grand Lark.

Good bye very very dear Charles Pray be prudent & careful I often make a day dream of seeing you so happy in your Parsonage, again Good bye & God bless you dear Charles. Yr affect | Caroline Darwin Sept 25th

I hope I have directed this letter right—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 185.f1
    George Goldie, M.D.
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    f2 185.f2
    William Venables Vernon Harcourt.
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    f3 185.f3
    Village in Worcestershire, on the border with Gloucestershire.
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    f4 185.f4
    Thomas Denman.
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    f5 185.f5
    Rice Wynne.
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    f6 185.f6
    The original provides no explanation of the discrepancy between the date at the end of the letter, which is certainly in Caroline's hand, and the post office stamp on the cover. One can only suppose that Caroline wrote on Tuesday, the 18th, and confused it with Tuesday, the 25th.
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