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Letter 260

Darwin, E. C. to Darwin, C. R.

29 Oct 1834

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    Family and local news. Tom Eyton will marry. Tells of the great fire of the Houses of Parliament.

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Shrewsbury

October 29th. 1834

My dear Charles

The last letter we received from you was dated April 6th of this year, from the Falkland Islands. Caroline has written to you since last month. We have been writing now a long time, directed to Valparaiso; I shall be so delighted when we hear from you from that place.— I was much interested by your account of Jemmy Button, & his young wife; I dare say it is happier for him to forget his English Habits, as he is to remain there.— Caroline had a letter from William Fox lately, who wished to know where to direct to you, as he is thinking of writing to you again, and is very anxious to hear some news of you. He says that in July he heard some very flattering things said of your exertions in Nat History, by Professor Henslow; who was then regretting that a Bag of Seeds, which had long reached England, had not arrived at Cambridge. William Fox says that you seem to have added much to our Gigantic Fossil Remains.— William Fox & his Wife are now staying at Osmaston; they were to have paid us a visit this Summer, but his Wife has been ill, which prevented it. The only great piece of news I have to tell you, is that the Langtons are intending to spend this Winter either in Madeira, or in the West Indies; on account of Mr Langton's health being so delicate, there is such great fear of his going into a Consumption, & it is thought a warm Climate may be of use to him.— Who would have believed 4 years ago that you would have been in South America, & Charlotte in the West Indies!— Nothing is quite fixed yet, but they will certainly go somewhere, as they have parted with their Servants, and obtained the Bishop's Leave for two years absence from his Living,—and it will most probably end in the West Indies, as Mr Langton much prefers that to Madeira. They did not think of it till so late in the Autumn, that they will have a great hurry over their Preparations.— They will return next Summer of course, as I suppose nobody spends the Summer in those hot Climates, no invalid, I should say.— There is no other Wedgwood news; we have had Harry & Jessie staying here sometime, with their nice little Baby, who is a great beauty, Miss Louisa by name.— Uncle Jos is enjoying his holiday from Parliament, Aunt Bessy continues much in the same state;—her intellects are very much gone, and she is perfectly helpless, from her lameness, but otherwise she is very well, and very cheerful.— I suppose you will see in the Papers the account of the Houses of Parliament being so entirely burnt down; it was owing to carelessness entirely Westminster Hall had a narrow escape, but fortunately was uninjured, and most of the valuable Papers also were saved.— Owing to the wood work being so very old, it blazed away with immense rapidity.— Erasmus has never sent us word whether he joined the crowd to see it; it must have been a splendid sight.— The Owens are all in just the same state; no news about them; poor William Owen hobbles about on crutches, and can now bend his knee seven inches, which is thought a great feat. He has sold all his Hunters, and is going to set up a Poney Carriage for the Winter; it is now 4 months since his accident; it is still doubtful whether he will ever get the entire use of it again.— The Biddulphs are returned from Switzerland; Fanny is ver<y> well now.— I gave Mr Owen your message th<e> last time I saw him; he always talks about you.— Do you remember Lloyd Kenyon, Mr Kenyon of Pradoe's eldest Son? I suppose we told you he went violently frantic in the Spring, and tried to kill a Man; he got quite well, after this attack, went out every where, and his family denied his madness; but about a fortnight ago, he went quite mad again, and after great difficulty, was taken up, and sent into confinement at Liverpool.— He never can be considered safe, after this second attack.— Susan and I returned yesterday from spending two days at your friend Mr Slaney's, in his new grand house at Walford.— It is a very large house, but not handsome, as he would be his own architect. Mr Slaney begged to be particularly remembered to you, and enquired much about you. Tom Eyton was staying in the house of course, with his love; they are to be married in February, and to live with old Mr Eyton; the house at Eyton has been very much added to, and altered to receive the Bride.— Tom Eyton seemed to be very devoted; I think he will have a very nice Wife, and certainly a very handsome one; and they will suit so well both so fond of quiet pursuits.— I think you will find them a very nice couple to stay with, when you come back; Tom Eyton, I am sure, is very fond of you; he has written to you already three times at Valparaiso, and is going to write to you again.— He has got some Chinese Geese, which are very curious birds, and a variety of other creatures & birds at Eyton, which I daresay he has written you an account of.— You must write and congratulate him upon his marriage to be; he is very proud of his choice, I am sure.—

Nancy has been begging me to tell you how much she longs to see you again, and how much she thinks of you.

Goodbye dear old Charley. How I long to see your dear old Phiz again. Papa's & all our best of loves. | Yrs ever | Catherine Darwin

Papa is very well.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 260.f1
    For an account of the fire see Annual register, 1834, pp. 155--69.
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    f2 260.f2
    Thomas Campbell Eyton was engaged to Elizabeth Frances Slaney, the daughter of Robert Aglionby Slaney.
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