Definite plans now to leave Valparaiso 1 June and to arrive in Sydney in January; then Cape of Good Hope and home in September 1836.
Describes Concepción after earthquake.
Will cross the Cordilleras. Hopes snow will hold off.
My dear Caroline,
We now are becalmed some leagues off Valparaiso & instead of growling any
longer at our ill fortune, I will begin this letter to you. The first & best
news I have to tell, is that our voyage has at last a definite & certain end
fixed to it. I was beginning to grow quite miserable & had determined to make a
start, if the Captain had not come to his conclusion. I do not now care what happens. I
know certainly we are on our road to England, although that road is not quite the
shortest. On the 1
This letter will be sent across land so will reach England soon: after receiving this you must direct till the middle of November to Sydney.—then till the middle of June to the C. of Good Hope.— We expect to arrive in England in September 1836.— The letters which come directed to S. America will not be lost for the Captain will write to the Admiral to forward them to Sydney.— I do so long to see you all again. I am beginning to plan the very coaches by which I shall be able to reach Shrewsbury in the shortest time. The voyage has been grievously too long; we shall hardly know each other again; independent of these consequences, I continue to suffer so much from sea-sickness, that nothing, not even geology itself can make up for the misery & vexation of spirit. But now that I know I shall see you all again in the glorious month of September, I will care for nothing; the very thoughts of that pleasure shall drive sea sickness & blue sea devils far away.—
We are now on our road from Concepcio>n.— The papers will have told
you about the great Earthquake of the 20
During this cruize, we have had the misfortune to loose 4 anchors; this is the cause of our now proceeding to Valparaiso—with only one anchor at the Bows it would not be safe to survey the coast. The Beagle will immediately return to Concepcion, from there resume the survey & continue it to Coquimbo. Then she will return to Valparaiso take in provisions & start for Lima.— I shall leave the Ship for the present; & not join her till the beginning of June: the Captain most kindly has offered to run in to Coquimbo to pick me up, in his way up the coast to Lima.— I hope & trust it will not be too late to cross the Cordilleras; besides the interest of such a journey, I am most anxious to see a geological section of this grand range.— Two days after we get in port, I will be off for St Iago & cross the Andes by the bad pass, see Mendoza & return by the common one.— I am much afraid of this cloudy weather, if snow falls early I may be detained a prisoner on the other side! I shall be obliged to spend a good deal of money; but I can most conscientiously say, I never spend a dollar, without thinking whether it is worth it. I am sure my Father will not grudge me a little more money than usual, for this is the last journey I shall be able take on shore; anyhow before we reach Sydney.— Oh the precious money wasted in Cambridge; I am ashamed to think of it.—
I am very glad of this spell on shore; my stomach, partly from sea sickness & partly from my illness in Valparaiso is not very strong. I expect some good rides will make another man of me.— And now our Voyage for many months will be in fine warm weather & the fair trade wind. Again I shall see palms, & eat Bananas & I look forward with pleasure to the very buzzing of the Mosquitos. The Captain is quite himself again, & thank Heavens as anxious to reach dear old England as all the rest of us.— The interval appears nothing—I can almost fancy we are running up the chops of the Channel & the look-out man has just hailed the ``Lizard lights right ahead Sir'' There will be more men aloft that day, than on the deck.—
I cannot write more, for horse cloths stirrups pistols & spurs are lying on all sides of me.— Give my most affectionate love to my dear Father.— | Farewell. Chas. Darwin—
- f1 271.f1This letter has not been found.
- f2 271.f2CD left Santiago for Mendoza via the Portillo Pass on 18 March and returned via the Uspallata Pass, arriving on 10 April. See `Beagle' diary, pp. 288--306, and Journal of researches, ch. 17.
- f3 271.f3The lights at Lizard Head, Cornwall, the southernmost point of the British mainland.