From Susan Darwin 22–31 July 1833
Osmaston [and Shrewsbury]
July 22d. 1833
My very dear Charles,
I hope you have not perceived the want of a letter for the Month of June, but if you did I am the one to blame as in the hurry of leaving London I quite forgot it was my turn to write. I daresay Caroline has been more vexed than you, because she did not know till too late to keep her promise of never letting you lose yr monthly letter.— We are all getting so impatient to hear again from you, & we have just got hopes of soon being gratified as in our paper it mentions The Beagle has been heard of on the 5th of April at the Falkland Islands & how very happy we shall be if this news brings us a letter fr you. I had determined not to expect one till September as you desired, but this paragraph in the paper has upset all my resolutions, & will make us watch the post very anxiously.—
You will see by the date of this that after vain attempts for 3 years Caroline & I at last are paying a visit at Osmaston We have been here nearly a week & are become very friendly with them all & like them exceedingly. Frances Jane is grown much stronger so that she comes down stairs & is able to sit up much more than formerly. I think she is very superior to the rest of the girls both in sense and agreeableness, besides being very handsome & interesting. Emma I like too extremely she really seems quite a perfect character of goodness. William is looking very delicate & they all seem low about him, he does not cough so I hope he is not yet consumptive. He is to spend the winter again at the I. of Wight which they say makes a gt difference in his health.—
They have all talked a gt deal about you & Julia was boasting the other day of her eyes being longer sighted than yours as she related the experiment that proved it, of William trying you both with some unknown book:— Mrs. Fox has tried hard to improve our minds with shewing us some manufactories, but so far we have escaped & as we only stay three days longer I think we shall go away as ignorant as we came.—
About a fortnight ago William was at the meeting of the Philosophers at Cambridge he said he heard yr things had arrived safe— P. Sedgwick made a most wonderfully eloquent speech upon resigning his office of President. P. Henslow could not give any of his parties because Mrs. H was lying in. It was a pity that idle Erasmus did not go to this meeting as Hildyard asked him to go to his house for it: he seems quite entranced by London for he has never once left it all this beautiful summer.
We were there 5 weeks exactly & did a wonderful quantity of amusement. Nancy paid the British Museum a visit & was quite delighted with beholding some stuffed animal with Capt Fitz roy’s name on it as having discovered it, so that was quite nearly enough allied to you to make it the most interesting sight in London.— I fell in love with an Armadillo I saw at the Zoological Gardens & as they come fr. America I wish you wd. bring a pet one home, they trot along so pertinaciously, that I laugh whenever I think of it.—
Charlotte & Mr. Langton are just come into Shropshire to take possession of their Living at Onnibury. They will be forced to build a new Parsonage house, but now they are living in a Farm house & seem very happy. it is very nice having them settled so very near us. I hope they will pay us a visit soon. I shall be curious to hear how Mr Langton likes his Clergymans life, for he felt shy at the thoughts of making acquaintance with his Parishioners— I am very sorry for poor William Fox being obliged to give up his Curacy at Epperstone I am sure he regrets it so much. Mr & Mrs White his Rector have been staying here & we liked them very much they seem such excellent people.— I have been looking over some beautiful engravings of Birds by a Mr Selby. I suppose they have been published since you left England but I am sure you will get a copy when you see them, for they are far superior to Bewick’s Birds.—1
I think Catherine must have told you that Fanny Biddulph has got a little Girl We saw a good deal of her when in London as she was slowly recovering & enjoyed having us to talk to very much when Mr Biddulph was at the House She has been very ill since her confinement & is now (altho’ nearly 2 months since she lay in) too weak to travel.— It is very pretty to see how she doats upon her baby which she thinks a perfect beauty & it is christened Fanny Charlotte: Old Mrs Biddulph has had a Paralytic stroke so I suppose the young ones will have Chirk Castle to themselves this Autumn.— I stayed 4 days at Woodhouse just lately. they see very little company there now & poor Caroline is rather dull: all the young ones were at home & the hay was making so we took novels, a bottle of Cider, & fruit, & spent 2 whole days upon the haycocks Francis undertaking to hide the liquor if the Governor approached.— It was high Strawberry season & Caroline Owen said that always put her in mind, of when you & Fanny used to lie full length upon the Strawberry beds grazing by the hour.— I think Mr Owen would enjoy having you to talk to not a little for he has nobody to listen to his campaigns in Flanders now you are away. They hear from Arthur very constantly but he complains very much of never receiving Letters fr. England which seems very strange, as you who are still farther off never miss any of ours.— Emma Owen is regularly come out & is a very pretty girl more like a white Mrs. Owen than the rest.
About a month ago Papa & Caroline went a little tour into Yorkshire to see the Cathedral—& saw Liverpool with the Railway but did not go upon it: My Father enjoys these little tours very much & I hope next summer he will compass Edinburgh. His new Carriage answers very well being very light & he always takes Edward with him when he goes any distance. He still does not eat Bread at Breakfast which certainly makes his Breath much better.
Shrewsbury July 31st.
The Langtons we expect to day At Bessy has been very dangerously ill from a severe attack of fits. Charlotte went up fr Onnibury to London hardly expecting to find her alive, but she has recovered in a wonderful manner, & Charlotte comes down to night pr. Wonder & we expect Mr Langton from his Living to meet her here.— The Biddulphs are now at Woodhouse poor Fanny & her little baby have both got the Hooping Cough. I am very glad she has left London. Papa went over to breakfast at Woodhouse yesterday in order to see some of the Hooping Cough patients as Mr Owen’s baby 2 has it also
All our affectionate Loves to you Dearest Charley & Good bye from | yr very affecte Susan Darwin.
Nancy begs I will mention her lest you shd. forget her.
Mr Charles Hughes has returned to England his health wd. not let him stay at Buenos Ayres any longer. He went to Canada first to see his vagabond Father. He is now with the Haycocks & is coming to dine here some day soon, when we shall hear a gt deal about you. I hope you keep quite well my dear Charles. Do your lips plague you now.
News of family and friends after skipping June letter: Osmaston and the Foxes, five weeks in London, the Langtons in Shropshire, Fanny Biddulph and daughter, R. W. Darwin, and Charles Hughes.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 211,” accessed on 14 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-211