To Susan Darwin [14 September 1831]
My dear Susan
I arrived here yesterday evening: after a very prosperous sail of three days from London.— I suppose breathing the same air as a sea Captain is a sort of a preventive: for I scarcely ever spent three pleasanter days.— of course there were a few moments of giddiness, as for sickness I utterly scorn the very name of it.— There were 5 or 6 very agreeable people on board, & we formed a table & stuck together, & most jolly dinners they were.— Cap. Fitz. took a little Midshipman (who by the way knows Sir F. Darwin, his name is Musters)1 & you cannot imagine anything more kind & good humoured than the Captains manners were to him.— Perhaps you thought I admired my beau ideal of a Captain in my former letters: all that is quite a joke to what I now feel.— Every body praises him, (whether or no they know my connection with him) & indeed, judging from the little I have seen of him, he well deserves it.— Not that I suppose it is likely that such violent admiration—as I feel for him—can possibly last.— No man is a hero to his valet, as the old saying goes.—& I certainly shall be in much the same predicament as one.—
The vessel is a very small one; three masted; & carrying 10 guns: but every body says it is the best sort for our work, & of its class it is an excellent vessel: new, but well tried, & again the usual strength.— The want of room is very bad, but we must make the best of it.—2 I like the officers, (as Cap. F. says they would not do for St. James, but they are evidently very intelligent, active determined set of young fellows.— I keep on ballancing accounts; there are several contra’s, which I did not expect, but on the other hand the pro’s far outweigh them.—
The time of sailing keeps on receding in a greater ratio, than the present time draws on: I do not believe we shall sail till the 20th of October.— I am exceedingly glad of this, as the number of things I have got to do is quite frightful.— I do not think I can stay in Shrewsbury more than 4 days.— I leave Plymouth on Friday and shall be in Cam: at the end of next week.—
I found the money at the Bank, & am much obliged to my Father for it.— My spirits about the voyage are like the tide, which runs one way & that is in favor of it, but it does so by a number of little waves, which may represent all the doubts & hopes that are continually changing in my mind. After such a wonderful high wrought simile I will write no more. So good bye, my dear Susan | Yours C. Darwin
Love to my Father.—
Pleasant three-day voyage to Plymouth has increased CD’s admiration for FitzRoy. Describes the Beagle as an excellent vessel, but the want of room is very bad. He likes the officers.