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Letter 821

Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, Emma

[3–4 Feb 1845]

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    News of the children and books he is reading.



Monday night

My dear Wife

Now for my day's annals— In the morning I was baddish, & did hardly any work & was as much overcome by my children, as ever Bishop Coplestone was with Duck. But the children have been very good all day, & I have grown a good deal better this afternoon, & had a good romp with Baby— I see, however, very little of the Blesseds— The day was so thick & wet a fog, that none of them went out, though a thaw & not very cold; I had a long pace in the Kitchen Garden: Lewis came up to mend the pipe & paper the W.C. in which apartment there was a considerable crowd for about an hour, when Mr Lewis & his son William, Willy Annie, Baby & Bessy were there. Baby insisted on going in, I daresay, greatly to the disturbance of Bessy's delecacy— Lewis from first dinner to second dinner was a first-rate dispensary, as they never left him— They, also, dined in the Kitchen, and I believe have had a particularly pleasant day.—

I was playing with Baby in the window of the drawing-room this morning, & she was blowing a feeble fly (fry) & blew it on its back, when it kicked so hard, that to my great amusement Baby grew red in the face, looked frightened & pushed away from the window.— The children are growing so quite out of all rule in the drawing-room, jumping on everything & butting like young bulls at every chair & sofa, that I am going to have the dining-room fire lighted tomorrow & keep them out of the drawing-room. I declare a months such wear, wd spoil every thing in the whole drawing-room.—

I read Whately's Shakspeare & very ingenious & interesting it is—and what do you think Mitford's Greece has made me begin, the Iliad by Cowper, which we were talking of; & have read 3 books with much more pleasure, than I anticipated.— I have given up acids & gone to puddings again.—

Tuesday morning— I am impatient for your letter this morning to hear how you got on.— I asked Willy how Baby has slept & he answered “she did not cry not one mouthful”. My stomach is baddish again this morning & I almost doubt, whether I will go to London, tomorrow; if I do you won't hear. Poor Annie has had a baddish knock by Willie's ball in her eye.—it is swelled a bit, but not otherwise bad.

C. D.

Your cap cannot <be> found anywhere: Jane says you took one. 910 of the snow is gone & the children are going out. Very many thanks for your letter

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 821.f1
    Date based on nn. 7 and 8, below, and on Henrietta Litchfield's statement, before her transcription of parts of this letter, that Emma went to Maer in February 1845 (Emma Darwin 2: 92). Emma's diary records that she was away between 31 January and 11 February.
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    f2 821.f2
    Edward Copleston.
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    f3 821.f3
    Henrietta Litchfield notes, ‘This must be some family joke. Bishop Copleston had been a friend of Sir James Mackintosh.’ (Emma Darwin 2: 93).
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    f4 821.f4
    Henrietta Emma Darwin, born 25 September 1843.
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    f5 821.f5
    John Lewis was a carpenter in Down village (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1845.)
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    f6 821.f6
    Elizabeth Harding, nursery maid at Down House (see Emma Darwin 2: 80–1).
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    f7 821.f7
    T. Whately 1785. The London Library borrowing list records that CD borrowed Thomas Whately's book on 30 January and returned it on 27 March 1845 (London Library Archives).
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    f8 821.f8
    Mitford 1784–1818. Volumes two and three of William Mitford's History of Greece were borrowed from the London Library on 9 January and returned on 27 March 1845 (London Library Archives).
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    f9 821.f9
    Cowper 1791.
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    f10 821.f10
    The final paragraph was written in pencil.
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