From Charlotte Langton 27 [September] 1832
October 27, 18321
My dear Charles
I was very glad to receive your letter & to hear so good an account of the success of your voyage. I rejoice most cordially in the pleasure & benefit you receive from it & will continue to receive I hope. It appears to have answered much better than the most sanguine could have hoped when you not only enjoy the beautiful scenes you go into to the utmost but even get attached to your little cramped cabin in the Beagle, in which one thought you could meet with nothing but discomfort & inconvenience—that it was a good place for reading I never could have guessed & it gives me no little pleasure to hear that you profit by it in being so industrious—it will make this voyage a pleasure & advantage to you all your life instead of a mere present delight. I am glad too that you are not too fond of the sea so as to lose sight of the pleasures of a quiet domestic English country life, for I should be very very sorry if you continued to lead a wandering life which is I think bad for every body, to say nothing of the loss to their friends, & not all the beauties of tropical climates would make up for the change. I have been putting off writing to you till I came to Maer—in a new place & among new people I thought I should be too much at a loss what to write to you about & that Maer would supply me with something to tell. The loss of our dear Fanny has changed it sadly since I left it in the Spring. the family seems diminished to such a small one compared with what it was then—for herself so good & innocent & unselfish as she was I can only feel that she is very happy to be taken out of the world before any distress or unhappiness came near her, her life was a very happy one & closed without knowing her danger or feeling the pain of separation from her family—poor Mama has borne her loss wonderfully well & all are very chearful. Hensleigh & Fanny were fortunately with them at the time & were the greatest possible comfort & support to them—I was very glad that we were able to come & take their places when they went away. It is the most beautiful September weather possible—shooting is utterly neglected Robert being away at the Hill, enjoying a holiday I should think very much, & all the more I suspect for having the good luck to meet Susan there. In the mean time Charles, Mr Langton that is, has undertaken to do his duty the two next Sundays. I remember the horror you used to express at the thoughts of doing duty at Maer— I believe he has a little bit of the same tho fortunately for Robert not quite so strong a one as your’s. I do not feel like a true parson’s wife yet & shall not till he has a living, which I wish might happen soon, it will be so much pleasanter to be settled down in a regular home, than as we now are not knowing how long we may stay where we are. I should be so glad for us both to begin to try to lead a useful life instead of feeling good for nothing & useless as I am sorry to say we do now—one feels it an excuse to do nothing when one is not fixed, tho one ought not I own. I am very much pleased with the beauty of Surrey—the village we live in not very pretty but we are in reach of very beautiful drives & have two ponies & a little carriage to take us about. There is a very pretty mixture of rich & highly cultivated country, with wild heaths commons & copse & wood which make a most charming riding country & I have often longed to have Caroline with her horse to shew it to. We have got acquainted with a good many people about but not many that I care about—I have no turn for forming new acquaintances or friendships which I think is rather a misfortun〈e〉 one loses much pleasure by it. Our chief dependence for society is on Hensleigh & Fanny, who are often inclined to come & refresh with us in the country, and Lady Gifford who is in our way to London. I have never yet ventured to ask Erasmus to come & see us, for he seems to find the country so fatiguing that I am afraid of having the mortification of seeing him dying with ennui in one day at Ripley. The last time I saw him he was making himself most useful to Fanny Hensleigh, looking at houses for her, for which he seems to have quite a taste luckily for her & Hensleigh, who is too busy at his office to have much time for house hunting. I think he must have the most extraordinary taste for London, to have been able to stay in it all this beautiful summer, but I suppose he is gone down to Shrewsbury by this time. Harry & Jessie are houseless now, & are staying at the Hill they think of taking a house at Keel, between Newcastle & Betley. Robert has been scheming in ducks & poultry this summer—the pool is covered with his ducks & I understand he made his eggs pay for all his butcher’s meat, & now he is going to set up a cow—we used to think his genius lay most towards being a squire, but now I think he shews it very strongly in the life of a country clergyman, in which it must be said for him he has other merits than these farmyard pursuits. My father sends his love to you & desires me to say how glad he is that your undertaking appears to answer so well. I think Charles bears you some envy for so delightful an expedition, for his great passion is travelling, & if any thing makes him repent being married I think it will be being cut off from it—however his spirits have stood being obliged to refuse two such tempting offers this summer that I think I need not be afraid any more: one was a trip in a friends yatch to the Mediteranean, & the other one in another friend’s yatch to America to coast & travel about there all at his friend’s expence.
My mother & Elizabeth & Emma desire to be most kindly remembered to you— I need only wish you to continue to be as happy in your travels as you are now, which I do most warmly & that you will have a safe & happy return.
Believe me dear Charles your affectionate cousin | Charlotte Langton
Your friend Wilcox2 is I believe going on pretty well—he has taken the Manor and gets what he can by selling the game, we buying what we want as we did before.
Rejoices in what she hears of his voyage and his pleasures in it.
Writes of her new life, and of their relatives and friends.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 186,” accessed on 29 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-186