From Susan Darwin 12–18 November 1832
November 12th. 1832
My dear Charles—
You will be surprised to hear that my Father has at last put his long talked of scheme into execution and set out to London two days ago with Caroline inside, & Edward & Harry the brother Antiquarians on the Seat behind, as upon our Lincolnshire tour.— We have not yet heard from them, and are very anxious for the first account of how he bears the fatigue They spend today (Sunday) at Oxford & get to London tomorrow night where they mean to spend about a week in seeing Sights, & a long List was drawn up Chiefly of all the buildings worth staring at.—
The new Carriage which my Father has had built chiefly for this occasion, most unluckily did not quite answer his expectations, as Hunt was careless about the measurement, & I am afraid the difficulty of getting in and out would very much spoil his pleasure. however it was very nearly as light as a Hack Chaise which was one great point.—
Catty & I feel very odd with the house, horses, Carriages & Servants all at our command without Papa sitting in his Arm chair by the fire.—
Sarah came as (Miss Owen) to spend 4 days with us about a fortnight ago before Mr. Williams came down to Eaton, & we enjoyed having her exceedingly. even the philosopher Erasmus who was here at the time often exclaimed “It is a pleasure to look at her” and certainly she is looking more pretty than ever but very delicate.— She often talked about you & said “she depended upon yr keeping yr promise of letting her be the first person you dine with upon your return as Belgrave St was very convenient for that purpose”. I wish I cd. foresee that before this time two years my dear old Charley you wd. fulfill that engagement.— Catherine & I are to go & spend two days this week at Eaton which will be an agreeable break in our solitude and mean to go to the Old Hunt Ball from Eaton with their party.—
I have been spending a very gay Autumn October at the Hill was very delightful. Tom & Robert were both there & both Masters of Gigs so with the Phaeton we had no ends of pretty drives and exploring parties. Also a family of Michells live close there & joined in our excursions. Miss Michell is rather good looking & very lively. we always used to set her down as Tom’s Lady but now I have seen them together I see no symptoms on Tom’s side.—
Capt Michell her brother was very pleasant & a famous Sportsman. when we made parties by the river side he used to catch Trout for our Dinner & cook them over a Stove which belonged to Tom on his Portuguese service.— They all enquired much about you & made me read some of your first Letters which interested them very much
Poor old Allen1 absolutely talks of coming back to Maer to take care of the Parish next Christmas but I think his courage will fail when he sees Snow on the ground especially when he hears that Robert intends cutting the Parsonage Windows much larger which I am sure won’t suit Allen’s constitution.— Cath has told you in her last letter of Mr Langton having got the Living of Onnibury near Ludlow it is a charming place for us. he will have 70 acres of Glebe with it, but I am sorry to find he has no taste for farming, & declares he will keep niether Pigs or Cows, & Charlotte is a very bad Wife in that respect for she won’t help to give him the proper country parsons tastes.—
I had never seen Mr. L. till just lately: he is very pleasant & sociable but not exactly the kind of man I shd. have expected to have suited Charlottes fancy.— They come to their Living I believe next February so now we shall always see a great deal of them. My Father likes him extremely which is very fortunate.— I long for you to be acquainted with him & I am sure he feels friendly to you from his manner of speaking about you. I daresay partly from knowing what a Sea life is, he takes more interest in news of you. I must ask you a very ignorant question. Are you going to explore down towards the South Pole or not? or only the coasts of America? I must get Earles book to read, for that will put a little sense into my head I hope.— The Penny & Saturday Magazines2 make the chief reading of the house at present, which we find cheap and profitable.— The two great Palm Trees are arrived & touch the top of the Hothouse now so I don’t see how they ever can flourish.—
Charlotte Holland has announced in due form & with plenty of affectation, that she is engaged to marry Mr. John Isaac: he must have a strange taste to prefer her to Louisa, & I think the Bank which his Father and he belong to, must be breaking before he could take such a step.— They are to live close to Worcester.
Sunday the 18th. of Novbr— I saw in the Paper last night that there had been an insurrection at Monte Video when 50 of the Crew of the Beagle were called upon & put it down— This account having reached England makes us hope we shall very soon hear of you my dear Charles & I wish the Admiralty would not be so long in sending out the Private Letters as I must finish this before I can expect to receive any news of you— The Newspaper says you arrived at Monte Video on the 9th. of August & in that case you have been a Month in getting there from Rio Janeiro which seems a long time.— We have heard twice fr London & they bring very agreeable accounts of my Father. he does not seem so much tired by sight seeing as Caroline expected & enjoys it all excessively. The Zoological Gardens he had been to once, but Caroline next Month will tell you all their annals.— We have been staying 3 days at Eaton & Mr Owen said he shd. write to you very soon. Mr Williams seems still over head & ears in love with Sarah tho’ they will have been married a year next Thursday the 22d. 〈 〉 we are to go & celebrate the anniversary w〈ith a〉 Flitch of Bacon.
I saw Tom Eyton at the Hunt Ball he looks altered I think & not so pleasant as he was. They say that he is a gt deal with Mr Oakeleys who are very bad drunken young men, & I am sadly afraid he is spoiling. They say he is in Love with Miss Oakeley I am sure if you were in England he would not have fallen down hill in this way, but this in only report I am telling you & I wish it may not be true for it is a great pity.—
Catherine & I join in affecte Love to you my Dearest Charley & I am yr most affecte Sister | Susan E Darwin.
Nancy talks about you morg, noon, & night.)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 191,” accessed on 25 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-191