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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-5830

From Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood to Emma Darwin   [30 March – 12 April 1868]1

good-tempered (though I have not seen it tried) & good-natured & free hearted—& I like her hearty admiration of people & books she likes—2 She is not at all afraid of admiring— I was rather surprised at her extreme delight in Adam Bede3 which we read aloud, & which I should hardly have thought a young person would have seen all the merit of. I am sorry to confess before Charles, that she finds Bates rather 〈du〉ll “She hoped it would be so much more about monkeys—”4 She & the nurse are noting about the tears— I saw them myself in the eyes on the 29—(it was born the 7th)5 & Lena saw them 2 days before but she is not sure they ran over.6 The nurse says she will observe the next baby too—7 The Christeng is to be at Easter— Chancllor Massingberd is coming to do it.8 Mr & Mrs M. & Alice9 are coming & I am happy to be out of the way—10 Charlotte Mildred is to be the name— I wish CL. did not hate Mrs Massingberd & L’s maid Young quite so m〈uch〉11 [This transcript has been corrected from that published in vol. 16 of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin.]

CD annotations

1.1 good-tempered … would 1.4] crossed blue crayon
1.6 She … too— 1.9] square brackets added, blue crayon
1.9 The Christeng … m〈uch〉 1.12] crossed blue crayon

Footnotes

1
The date range is established by the reference to Charlotte Mildred Langton’s birth date and first tears on 29 March, and the date of her christening (see nn. 5 and 8, below).
2
Elizabeth refers to Emily Langton (Lena), who married Edmund Langton in March 1867 (Freeman 1978, Darwin pedigree).
3
Eliot 1859.
4
Elizabeth refers to Henry Walter Bates’s The naturalist on the river Amazons (Bates 1862). CD had been very enthusiastic about the book (see Correspondence vols. 10 and 11).
5
The Langtons’ daughter, Charlotte Mildred, was born on 7 March 1868 (birth certificate, General Register Office). She later married CD’s son, Leonard Darwin (Freeman 1978).
6
CD was collecting information on the secretion of tears for his research on the expression of emotions. In Expression, pp. 153–4,CD claimed that tears were usually only slightly secreted in very young infants, and began to roll over their eyelids and down their cheeks when they reached about four months of age.
7
Lena and Edmund Langton’s second child was Stephen Langton Massingberd, born 12 May 1869 (Burke’s landed gentry).
8
Francis Charles Massingberd was chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral (ODNB). In 1868, Easter Sunday was on 12 April.
9
Charles Langton Massingberd, his wife Harriett, and his daughter, Alice Louisa Langton Massingberd. [This footnote has been corrected from that published in the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16.]
10
Elizabeth moved from London to Down in 1868 (see Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 218–19).
11
Charles Langton. Lena Langton’s maid was Sarah Young. [This footnote has been corrected from that published in the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16.]

Summary

Observations on the first appearance of tears in a baby.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5830
From
Wedgwood, S. E. (b)
To
Darwin, Emma
Sent from
unstated
Source of text
DAR 181: 70
Physical description
†(by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5830,” accessed on 25 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5830

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