Regrets he cannot come to music meeting in Birmingham because he is very busy with the proofs of his book [Journal of researches]. A waste of life to spend a summer in ugly Marlborough Street.
[36 Great Marlborough Street]
My dear Elizabeth
I am very much obliged to you for thinking of so pleasant a party as the music meeting would have been to me. It would have been like the never to be forgotten music meeting, many years ago.— But I find I cannot leave London: consider the infinite importance to a young author of his first proof sheets, and I hope by about the time of the music to be a third through my volume.— I had not forgotten the music meeting, & your scheme of my taking Liverpool, and the railroad would have been capital, but it cannot be. You will say I am utterly unworthy of a music meeting, when I tell you, that I think I would sooner pay Maer a quiet visit, than hear all the drums & fiddles in the world together.— When my volume is done I mean to pay Shrewsbury a flying visit, & I will return by Maer, & you & Emma will I daresay give me a little music meeting in the evenings, which must do instead of Birmingham.— I gave your message to Susan, who says she is much obliged, but that she has not courage for the scheme. The only reason I can find out is that she is growing very old.— Has it not been most unfortunate my Father having been, now during his third tour, made prisoner by the gout.— Erasmus's house has suited him very well, but he is most anxious to get home. He thinks he shall be able to start on Thursday, & tomorrow he is going to try a little airing. Susan and my Father tell me to say that they are very sorry they cannot take the picture down for you, as the carriage is rather full & space is of consequence to him.— It will remain in Erasmus house, till he hears what to do with it or how to send it.— Susan says she will write to you, as soon as she reaches Shrewsbury.
Although I have comforted myself by assuring myself a quiet visit would be much the pleasantest, yet it is very grievous to throw away so much good enjoyment as the Music Meeting would be. To write a book, I do not doubt is a very grand thing, but there ought to be a deal of satisfaction from some source to repay one for all one loses. What a waste of life to stop all summer in this ugly Marlborough Street & see nothing but the same odious house on the opposite side, as often as one looks out. I long to pay Shrewsbury a visit & pray recollect I have put your most goodnatured invitation a little further back in the Autumn when I will be quite free.
Give my love to all at Maer, & believe me dear Elizabeth | Yours affectionately | Chas Darwin