From Catherine Darwin 29 January 1836
29th | January | 1836.
My dearest Charles,
Your last letter was from Lima, in which you mentioned having drawn for 50 instead of 30£;— by some strange mistake it was dated May 3d , but we know you must have meant to write September 3d, as the letter before, also from Lima, was dated July 20th.—1 It is most delightful to think that we shall really have you home next Autumn;—we long to see you again, and to have the happiness of having you safely at home again, as much as you can wish to see us again. It gives universal joy to all your friends to have such a near time to look forward to; and I trust and hope that you may really keep to that time, as Capt Fitzroy seems to be as much in earnest as the rest of the Ship to be as expeditious as possible.— Papa was settling the other evening, what Bedroom you would have, when you come; and I shall much enjoy turning out of your room, to give it up to its dear old owner.— Mr Owen sent us a very agreeable nice letter from you to read, dated also July 20th, from Lima; he was very much pleased with it, and talked a great deal about you, when I was lately at Woodhouse.— You will find very few changes for the worse, I hope, when you return, except poor Fanny Wedgwood’s death; a great many marriages, and a whole host of children will have arisen, but, (with that one exception) nothing else of the melancholy kind.— Papa is very well, and walks surprisingly about the Town again. The Carriage drops him in the town, and then he walks a great deal about it, and the carriage goes to pick him up again.— I hoped to have been able to tell you of the birth of a Niece, as Marianne is expecting every day to be confined; and Caroline is gone to Overton to be with her; but as it has not yet happened, I am afraid I must send this off, before I can tell you if it is a little Girl, or that great misfortune, a 5 th Master Parker.—
We have had a week’s visit from Parky in his Christmas Holidays;—he is such a great, big, fine, spirited boy of 10 years old;—enjoying everything to the utmost, especially going on the Box of his Grand Papa’s Carriage with Mark;— which was his great pleasure, hoping to be trusted with the Reins for a few minutes.— He rode over here on his Poney, and is a capital Horseman.
William Fox has a little daughter,2 at last, I am happy to tell you:—he wrote to tell us of Mrs William Fox’s safe confinement, the beginning of this month;—they are spending the winter at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight.— I dare say you will like his Lady better than we did; for one reason, she was in a bad state of health when we saw her, which I dare say accounted for much of her crossness.— We have sent William Fox one of the little books, with the Extracts from your Letters; every body is much pleased, with them, who has seen them; Professor Henslow sent half a dozen to Dr Butler; we sent one also to Tom Eyton;—he says he has written to you at Sydney, so you will have his opinion from himself of them.—
Harry and Jessie are staying with us now, and are both occupied in reading your Journal, which they find very entertaining, especially your descriptions of Tropical Scenery. My dearest Charley, we were so glad to hear in your last letter, that you had grown twice as fat, from living quietly in the S〈hip.〉 do tak〈e〉 care of yourself in those hot C〈li〉mates with the Sun, vertical over your head; pray take care of yourself, my dear old Charley, & come back to us in good health.— This new year will be the happiest that has been for a long time, if it brings you back to us:—I can hardly fancy you with us again, but it will be most delightful, when we really have you.—
Erasmus is busied with housekeeping cares at present; he has taken a house, belonging to an attorney in Marlborough St—Argyll Place—and is very busy now furnishing it, and setting himself up;—he finds the expence and difficulty of furniture and household cares, much more than he expected.—
I do not know whether you were acquainted with Mr Panting, of this town; we knew him very well, and saw a great deal of him at one time;3 he died this week of a very malignant fever; Papa was only alarmed about him about three days, before his death;—the fever was so rapid & violent;—and it was a very melancholy death in many respects.— We have been reading the Wreck of the Challenger,4 it is an interesting short account of their escape— there is no mention of who it is written by; how very generous, and how brave, & active Capt Fitzroy must have been in going to their assistance,—how much one admires him for it.
Goodbye, dearest Charley. Papa’s & Susan’s love,—and beg me to tell you how they long for September. | Yrs ever | Catherine | Darwin.
They have been reading about the wreck of the Challenger; much impressed by Capt. FitzRoy’s bravery.
The W. D. Foxes have a daughter. Family news.