To William Erasmus Darwin 11 [February 1858]1
My dear William
You have been very good about writing, for we like so much to hear all about the place & your companions &c.—2 I suppose the country is flat & ugly; so I fancy all Norfolk is, but I never entered the county.— It looks here, as if you would have skating, which would be a good job.—
You must know that I have determined to sell the grey mare;3 for the other day she started so violently in the tax-cart & ran up a bank that she very nearly upset the cart.— I shall try Mr Edwards & offer her for 25£.—4 Perhaps you will say, as Lenny did yesterday to Mamma, “Well that is cool to bag my chair”.—5 It will not be worth while to buy for Easter, without something very good turned up, but we must look out before the summer holidays; indeed it is very inconvenient for us being with only one horse.—
As Norfolk is near Suffolk, look out for me, whether there are near you any Suffolk Punches or large Cart-Horses of a Chesnut colour; if so please observe whether they have a dark stripe or band down the spine to root of tail; also for mere chance, whether any trace of a cross stripe on the shoulder, where the Donkey has, & any cross-stripes on the legs.6
Next Tuesday we all go up to London for a few days; the little Boys, however, not coming up till Wednesday & we all stay till Saturday; Mamma & Etty, however, a few days longer.—7 The little chaps are very full of the Conjurer, Astley & all.8 Thank goodness Lenny has been quite hearty of late.
Lewis has very nearly finished everything in the new rooms, & I must have the Surveyor down & pay for all.—9 We have sent the Barberini vase10 up to London by Uncle Harry, who was here on Saturday & Sunday,11 to see whether we can sell it for a good price; & if we can, will it not be good for buying some nice Water-Colour drawings & framed with a good margin, & some of the best in the old drawing-room likewise new framed, will make the new Drawing Room look stunning.— After you have been some little time at Mr Wilson’s, I shall like to hear how you get on with Mathematicks & Classics.
My dear old fellow | Yours affect | C. Darwin
Writes of domestic matters
and asks WED to observe cart-horses for traces of dark stripes on spine and cross-stripes on shoulder.