An amusing description of his railway journey to Shrewsbury.
My dear Emma.—
You are a good old soul for having written to me so soon.— I, like another
good old soul, will give you an account of my proceedings from the beginning.—
At the station I met Sir F. Knowles, but was fortunate
enough to get in a separate carrigae from that chatter-box. In my carriage, there was
rather an elegant female, like a thin Lady Alderson, but so virtuous that I did not
venture to open my mouth to her. She came with some female friend, also a lady &
talked at the door of the carriage in so loud a voice, that we all listened with silent
admiration. It was chiefly about family prayers, & how she always had them at
At Bermingham, I was kept standing in the office
My Father is appearing very well.— I have begun to extract wisdom from him, which I will not now write.—
He does not seem able to form any opinion about your case.—but strongly urges your going on suckling a little for some time, even at the expense of slight headachs.— He says you probably will be able to guess with better chance of truth later about your condition—but that it will be only a guess.— You will be pleased to hear, that he objects to the Baby having medicine for every trifle— He says, as long as the Baby keeps well, & the motions appear pretty healthy, he thinks it of little consequence whether it has a dozen or one or even less than one in 24 hours, although he says it is desirable it should be more than once.— He is very strong against gruel, but not against other food.— He thinks there is no occasion to go on with Asses' milk.— But I will tell you all this when I come back.—
I enjoy my visit & have been surprisingly well & have not been sick once.— My Father says I may often take Calomel.— He has recommended me nothing in particular.— I find I am a good deal thinner than I was, weighing less than Erasmus now.— I suspect the Journey & change will do me good— I could not, however, sleep but very little the first night, & I verily believe it was from the lonesomeness of the big bed,—in which respect I have shown much more sentimentality than, it appears you did. I have begun, like a true old Arthur Gride making a small collection & have picked up several nice little things, & have got some receipt for puddings &c & laid some strong effectual hints about jams, & now you may send the empty jars when-ever you please.—
Chucky is very flourishing, & wishes <m>uch to see the
killcrop.— Be sure you give M
Good Bye my dear old Titty. I am often thinking about you. Give my best love to dear old Katty,
& believe your affectionate old Husband | C. D
- f1 564.f1Francis Charles Knowles.
- f2 564.f2Thomas Parr of Lythwood Hall, 2 miles from Shrewsbury.
- f3 564.f3Mark Briggs, R. W. Darwin's coachman.
- f4 564.f4Bowel movements.
- f5 564.f5CD weighed 10 stone, 8 pounds on 4 April, having lost 10 pounds, 6 ounces since 13 September 1839 (‘Weighing Account’ book, Down House MS).
- f6 564.f6A mean old usurer in Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby.
- f7 564.f7‘Chucky’ is Susan Darwin (Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 13) and the ‘killcrop’ is William Erasmus Darwin, as is ‘Mr Hoddy Doddy’.
- f8 564.f8A list of Philharmonic Society concerts. On 22 February 1840 CD noted in his Account Book (Down House MS) ‘M
rCramer Philharmonic tickets [£]12/12’.
- f9 564.f9Catherine Darwin.