To J. S. Henslow [5 September 1831]
[17 Spring Gardens] London
My dear Sir,
Gloria in excelsis is the most moderate beginning I can think of.— Things are more prosperous than I should have thought possible.— Cap. Fitzroy is every thing that is delightful, if I was to praise half so much as I feel inclined, you would say it was absurd, only once seeing him.— I think he really wishes to have me.—1 He offers me to mess with him & he will take care I have such room as is possible.— But about the cases he says I must limit myself: but then he thinks like a sailor about size: Cap. Beaufort says I shall be upon the boards & then it will only cost me like other officers.— Ship sails 10th of October: spends a week at Madeira islands: & then Rio de Janeiro.— They all think most extremely probable, home by the Indian Archipelago: but till that is decided, I will not be so.—
What has induced Cap. Fitzroy to take a better view of the case is; that Mr. Chester,2 who was going as a friend, cannot go: so that I shall have his place in every respect.— Cap Fitzroy has good stock of books,3 many of which were in my list, & rifles &c So that the outfit will be much less expensive than I supposed.— The vessel will be out 3 years I do not object, so that my Father does not.— On Wednesday I have another interview with Cap. Beaufort, & on Sunday most likely go with Cap. Fitzroy to Plymouth.— So I hope you will keep on thinking on the subject, & just keep memoranda of what may strike you.— I will call most probably on Mr Burchill4 & introduce myself.— I am in Lodgings at 17, Spring Gardens.—
You cannot imagine anything more pleasant, kind & open than Cap. Fitzroys manners were to me.— I am sure it will be my fault, if we do not suit.—
What changes I have had: till one to day I was building castles in the air about hunting Foxes in Shropshire, now Lamas in S America.— There is indeed a tide in the affairs of men.— If you see Mr Wood, remember me most kindly to him.—
Good bye, my dear Henslow | Yours most sincere friend | Chas Darwin
Excuse this letter in such a hurry.
Has met FitzRoy, who has now offered him the post of naturalist on board the Beagle. Other details about the voyage arrangements – mess, CD’s status, route, books.