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Letter 704

Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, Emma

[12–24 Oct 1843]

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    News of the Shrewsbury family. He cannot get his father to sympathise with the numbness in his finger ends or his fears of "ruin and extravagance".

Transcription

[Shrewsbury]

Wednesday

My dear old Titty.

Why did you not tell me how your old self was: be sure tell me exactly next letter.— As for myself I am very brisk & have just been paying a call on Nancy & have been admiring her chateau, which really is very nice.— She showed two very old letters of my mother, such kind & considerate ones they were & the hand very like that of the Wedgwood family.— She also showed me a letter from Aunt Bessy which came with crockery & M. de Sevigne could not, I should think, have written more prettily on such an occasion.—

My letter will consist of odds & ends— I have not seen Baby, but Caroline looks to day death-like pale & I do not like her looks— if the Baby cries, as she did last night, she stays up for hours.— I go out for a turn on the terrace several times a day & mean after Luncheon to attempt Shelton Rough,—but the fine ash-trees there have all been cut down.— I weighed yesterday before luncheon 11st 2 12 lbs: please enter it in your book.— I had nice talk last night with the girls, as I briskened up after nine oclock, before which time I felt a good deal overwhelmed by the talking— I got into a transport over the thought of Doddy & talked like an old fool for nearly an hour about nothing else & I really believe the girls sympathised with it all.— I ended with protest, that although I had done Doddy justice, they were not suppose that Annie was not a good little soul—bless her little Botty— Absence makes me very much in love with my own dear three chickens.— I enclose the key (take care & keep it locked up) of the drawer of keys, that you may get out key of Dining room of cupboard for the tulip-bulbs for dziver. Ask her to take the trouble to send here a copy of Snow's autobiographical sketch: they all here are very curious to see it.— I presume Fanny could have no objection.—

Looking over your letter again, I see I somehow overlooked that you say you have been pretty brisk— I am very glad of it— you seem to have had a nice evening at 16.— You were quite right to send me sneers versus Mr Scott— I have amused them here with Homœopathetic stories.— My Father observes that as long as he can remember, there has always been something wonderful, more or less of the same kind, going on & there has always been people weak enough to believe & he says, slapping both knees, he supposes there always will be—so that he thinks Mr Scott no greater a fool than the other past & future fools; a more charitable belief, than I can indulge in—

Mrs Owen called here on Monday in the most wretched spirits, crying violently & looking very thin.— she has lost the use of one arm & my Father is frightened at this, thinking it perhaps is forerunner of paralytic stroke.— By the way I told him of my dreadful numbness in my finger ends, & all the sympathy I could get, was “yes, yes exactly—tut-tut, neuralgic, exactly yes yes”— Nor will he sympathise about money “stuff & nonsense” is all he says to my fears of ruin & extravagance

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 704.f1
    Margaret Susan Wedgwood, born 29 September 1843.
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    f2 704.f2
    The ‘Weighing Account’ book kept at Shrewsbury has only one entry for CD's weight during this visit: ‘Oct 19 11 7 12’ (Down House MS).
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    f3 704.f3
    William Erasmus Darwin's baby name for Elizabeth Wedgwood. CD recorded it in his book of obser- vations of William as a baby: ‘he one day graciously gave Elizabeth a kiss, but repenting said “Doddy did not kiss Dziver” ’ (DAR 210: 17, p. 39).
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    f4 704.f4
    16 Gower Street, the home of Fanny and Hensleigh Wedgwood.
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    f5 704.f5
    The practice of homoeopathy was originated by Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann in Germany around 1796 and introduced to England in 1827 by Dr Frederic Hervey Foster Quin; by 1837 the number of practitioners had risen to between seventy and eighty despite bitter opposition.
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    f6 704.f6
    Harriet Elizabeth Mostyn Owen whose son, Henry, had recently died (see letter from William Mostyn Owen Sr, 26 March 1843).
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