From Caroline Darwin [27 February 1826]
My dear Charles
It is some time since we have had a letter from you, & I want to hear whether you have been blown away in any of the stormy nights we have had latterly—for if we feel the storms of wind, I should think you would in a house with an uncountable number of stories & in Scotland moreover.— Mr Young1 has been acting here in his way to Edinburgh I should very much liked to have accompanied him & paid you a visit, for I want very much to see you & Eras again. it seems particularly odd being so long without your running up once from School— Mr Young has not at all rivalled Macready in my affections though I admired his acting very much, there was a better house for his benefit than I have seen very long in Shrewsbury. A great many of Doctor Butlers young gentlemen patronized him & Mr and Mrs. Iliffe—the latter is a prettyish, pinkish, primish, looking young lady, & had a proper conscious bride like look all evening—& I dare say flattered herself that she and Mr Young divided the attention of the house— There was likewise a new actress who sang a duet with her lover the burden of which was “sweet little Barbara, sweet, sweet, sweet, little Barbara” I quite longed to tell her it would have been much more modest if she had not joined in that part of the song but left her lover to sing it alone— I heard that 7 boys have run away from the schools already this half year, I do not think Dr Butler will much like that.—
You will have heard from Marianne of poor little Sparks melancholy death— I am rather frightened for Shelah. I find she is going to have puppies & is so very large, that I shall be very glad when she has them & is well.— I am sure poor Sparks death will be a sad grief to you, independant of the sorrow for the little dog herself— I do not think you will understand me but I do not know how to express myself clearly—
Susan has been staying at Maer some time she will come home I believe tomorrow week— We are surprised that your friend Archdeacon Corbet2 has not called an antislavery meeting in this town—he has always done so before whenever there have been meetings held on the subject & it is strange he should not now—3 The Assizes4 will be the week after next. The Owens of Woodhouse come to us for it— Harry5 also will make the circuit for the first time— I wish he may get a brief but I do not think there is much chance this time— We have been very busy in the flower garden, planting sweet peas &c. I flatter myself it will look much gayer this year than it did last—that I know you will think it may easily do, I have remembered your admiration of the Holyhocks at Maer & have been buying some, so that at least we will not be outdone in that flower— We are going to have pipes laid to have a supply of water in the flower garden, so next summer your goodnature will not be so often taxed with, “Charles it is very hot.” (“very hot indeed”) you unthinkingly answer) “Dear Bobby, the ground is so dry that the pans of water you brought half an hour ago did hardly any good, would you bring one more?”
Papa pays frequent visits to the garden to see a Leucojum vernum which is now in blow & rather a rare plant. Have you ever seen Battys engravings of Germany and France,6 the buildings must be very fine in the former place—
My best love to Erasmus & Believe me Yrs affec | Caroline Darwin
Papa sends his love to you both—
Theatre at Shrewsbury.
Harry [Henry Allen] Wedgwood will make the circuit for the first time at the forthcoming assizes.