To Emma Darwin [22 May 1848]
My dear Mammy
I have been so sorry that I ever asked you to send the Newspaper at all earlier than usual, as I quite forgot there were visitors with you;1 so do not send them anymore. Indeed I cannot read the old papers, though the Globe2 is simply damnable.— My Father kept pretty well yesterday, but he has had a bad night & is much oppressed in his breathing this morning: but he means to go into the town: his legs are very dropsical, but he does not seem much afraid of that.
Yesterday Marianne & Frank3 came up: he is a monstrous fine man, but not actually handsome, with pleasant laughing manners. I am certain from looks & no answers, that he has some lovering with some rich lady, but it is some tremendous secret. Marianne appeared pretty well. It is very provoking, but I feel almost sure, that the cold-bathing, though I now like it & it makes me feel very vigorous for an hour or two, knocks me up for the rest of the day, & I have not used it this day, for I was very heavy all yesterday. I was speculating yesterday, how fortunate it was, that I had plenty of employment (& an employment which I do not consider mere amusement) for being employed alone makes me forget myself: really yesterday I was not able to forget my stomach for 5 minutes all day long.
I have read, since being here, Evelyn’s life of Mrs Godolphin;4 it is very pretty, but she is too virtuous, & too nun-like; her great beauty counterbalances some of her virtue; if she had been ugly & so very good she would have been odious— tell this sentiment to your Aunt Sarah5 & see what she will say.— The ladies here are delighted with your story of Willy6 & the smashed dog at the Hermitage7 & Aunt Sarah.— I am, also, reading an Eng. trans. of M. Sevigne8 & like it much.
Give my love to all the dear children & bless them. You are a good old mammy | Yours | C. D.
The black-caps sing here so beautifully.
His health not good.
Has been reading John Evelyn’s Life of Mrs Godolphin, and Mme Sévigné.