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Letter 443

Darwin, C. R. to Whitley, C. T.

23 Nov [1838]

    Summary Add

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    Announces his engagement.

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    Glad CW wondered at Glen Roy. "I saw nothing in my peregrinations to the Antipodes nearly so curious in physical geography."

Transcription

Athenæum

November 23d

My dear Whitley

I have been very long in answering your kind letter: but now I have some news to tell you, which, I am sure will please you, as holding out to me, the best chance of happiness, mortal man can boast of in this world.—

It can be nothing else, but that I am going to be married. The lady is my cousin Miss Emma Wedgwood.— you will approve of marrying a cousin: & if you knew what a good dear little wife, the lady will surely make, you would approve still more, & congratulate me, heartily, on my good fortune.—

We are to be married in the end of January, & intend living in London, at least for some years, until I have wearied the geological public with my newly acquired cacoethes scribendi.— I have a busy, & therefore a happy life before me, with a comfortable, though rather humble, fireside to spend my evenings, & the evening of my life by the side of, that is, if I have the luck to live so long.— My future wife is a very good musician, so that I m<ea>n to acquire first rate taste in music, & nothing less than symphonies of Beethoven shall go down.—

I am glad to find from your letter that science is not so much at a discount with you as formerly: although I believe it was always rather more theoretically so, than practically.— I am glad to find, you wondered properly at Glen Roy.— I cannot get people to be half enough astonished at it.— I saw nothing in my perigrinations to the Antipodes, nearly so curious in physical geography.— I do not doubt they are old sea-beaches: & many most curious inferences may be, I believe, deduced from the fact.— This is a marvellous world we live in, & I never cease marvelling at it. But just at this present time I marvel more at the prospect of having a real, live, goodly wife to myself than at all the hundred wonders of the world.

I am very much obliged for your kind invitation northward.— I fear it will be long before I shall be able to bend my steps that way: I often regret, how little I see of my good old friends: but the recollection of them & of Cambridge days & of our long walks often gives me real happiness. Heaviside flourishes at Heyleibury: I was astonished the other day by being hailed by a Revd. Prof. of that College, as President: which was explained to me by being informed that Heaviside had stated over what a noble club—I had once Presided.

Good bye, my dear Whitley, | Most truly yrs, C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 443.f1
    Whitley had married his cousin, Frances Whitley, in 1836.
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    f2 443.f2
    James William Lucas Heaviside was Professor of Mathematics at the East India Company College, Haileybury.
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    f3 443.f3
    A reference to the Glutton (or Gourmet) Club of Cambridge undergraduate days (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from Frederick Watkins, [18 September 1831]).
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