They have been having a very gay time. Tells of "Redcoats & Shootables" and several mutual friends.
6. Marine Square. [Brighton]
My dear Charles.
I was very glad to receive your letter, though it gave an additional pang to my guilty
conscience for not having sooner fulfilled my promise of writing to you, but I hope you
do not think that forgetfulness has been the cause of my silence. I have said
to myself every day for the last fortnight, ``I will write to Charles Darwin.''
& every day some awfully sudden event has prevented my doing so, but as to my
forgetting you, M
I am afraid I have nothing very interesting to tell you, though I have been very gay
since came here, & like Brighton very much, we are out almost every
night, which I think very wonderful, considering we knew so few people here
when we first came. Last week we were at three Balls, besides Parties,
& are engaged to four or five more, you make such particular enquries after
Red coats & shootables that I cannot resist
telling you (like M
Brighton is so horridly windy that there is very little pleasure in walking
here, & besides we are in sad want of a walking Chaperon, & I
often wish you were here to take pity on two desolate
Flams. Caddy wrote me word you were to go to the Forest
the first hard frost, but I have not yet heard your name amongst the fashionable
arrivals, remember you will owe two or three long visits by the time we return, I do not
exactly know when that will be, I should think not before the beginning of February, I
hope you will not be departed to your ``brilliant establishment'' at
Cambridge— We dined yesterday at Sir George Anson's,
& had a very pleasant evening, Francis Anson is very goodnatured &
agreeable & a great favourite with us all, he chaunces to drop in every
Morning to see what we are about, & enquire if he can be useful in any way, I do
not know what we should do without him. Then there is Cap
< > Darwin Hall & believe me, my dear Charles. | ever Yours sincerely | S. H Owen
The quantity of this will I hope atone for the quality, if you ever have patience to read it all—
- f1 36.f1Presumably officers and other targets for unmarried young ladies. As later letters make clear, `shootable' is also used by the Owen girls generally for `suitable'.
- f2 36.f2In Lister's popular novel Granby (Lister 1826) the term `scorpions' is used for `That detrimental class … younger brothers' (OED).
- f3 36.f3Eaton Mascott, near Shrewsbury, home of the Williams family. Sarah Owen married Edward Hosier Williams in 1831.
- f4 36.f4`by Shrewsbury clock', a colloquial phrase lessening or even cancelling the period of time (Partridge 1973, p. 840). Shakespeare used the term in Henry IV Part I, 5. 4. 147 (Arden edition) in Falstaff's fabricated account of his fighting with Percy for `a long hour by Shrewsbury clock' at the battle of Shrewsbury.
- f5 36.f5Excursion or outing. Other examples of the Owen--Darwin private language that occur in the correspondence are: broadcloth==man; black broadcloth==clergyman; budget==letter; clandecently==clandestinely; foiblesse==weakness, foible; halter==altar; hare==suitor; insinivating== insinuating; insinivation==invitation; leetle==little; muslin==woman; mystery==rumour, gossip; punchon==penchant; statue==statute (of lunacy).
- f6 36.f6Probably a nickname for Caroline Owen.
- f7 36.f7CD had been admitted pensioner to Christ's College, 15 October 1827 but did not come into residence at Cambridge until January 1828 (Biographical Register of Christ's College, vol. 2).
- f8 36.f8At least one page is missing. The final lines are written vertically across the first page.