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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   20 November [1872]1

Nov 20

Dear Charles

I have received the Bankers receipts for £1116 Midland.2 The Etruria money Jos has paid to your account & he says he can’t say anything whether it ought to go to Emma’s settlement or not.3

F. gave me this letter of Lady Bells4 the other day to be burnt when read, & I send it on for the chance of your liking to see what a devoted wife she is. I found the Book very interesting, but I have not been in the way of hearing public opinion about it except indeed Sir Henry5 who of course could have given you some additional facts.

ever yours | ED


47 Albany Street N. W.

Monday 4th. Novr.—

My dear Mrs. Wedgwood—

I could say much to you of my thanks to Mr. Darwin, and of my interest in his Book, and especially for the—Restoration of the old fashioned Anaty of Expression, with his gratifying words of the Author. How I wish they had been acquainted!6

The last book that C. B read, (leaning on the Bedroom Chimneypiece at Hallow Park) on Thursday Evg. 28th of April 1842, was Darwins Voyage in the Beagle.7 and—he knew the love of Dogs so well.— Poor Striach jumped as usual into the phaeton, the day we drove to Granton Steamboat—and his Master had to put him—(for the last time) into No 6 Ainslie Place.—8 His eyes showed how much he was affected

They used both to contemplate, as if they were very loving friends.

We left Edinr on the 16th. April, intending to be for some Months in a Cottage in Wales, for rest after the Session,9 and for Fishing.

His restorative Work, in the Portmanteau was the Anaty of Expression, with the many notes, and additions, and emendations,—strewed in, among the cut leaves of the old Edition.— At that sad period—the whole got into confusion, and my Br. Alexander said that I must come to him to aid in what had been intended.10

I long to lend Mr Darwins book to Alex. when he comes home tomorrow, I have nearly finished it.

In the spirit of a woman, I am wedded to the Respiratory Theory!11 Alexr. has more extended views—

C. Bell felt deeply that there was still much to be done on the subjects he delighted in. But, he had to live by his Profession; and he longed for leisure. He saw the blanks that were to be filled. I like M. Lemoine’s notice.12

In the depths of difficulties—I sometimes remember Chas Shaw’s reply to a young soldier,—“Sir, why are we all to begin our march—with the left foot foremost”?—“Because it is the Command of His Majesty”.13

I am far behind in the race of today, with a deep respect for those who love, and humbly search for truth. Do tell Mr Darwin of my gratitude and Believe me, dear friend, | Yours affectionately Marion Bell


The year is established by the references to Expression, which was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
Erasmus presumably refers to the Midland Railway Company; there is no record of CD’s having shares in the Midland in his Investment book (Down House MS), but see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from W. E. Darwin, [January 1869].
Etruria (the Wedgwood factory in Staffordshire), which had been the property of Josiah Wedgwood II, and from which Emma Darwin (his daughter) had received rents as part of her marriage settlement, was bought by Godfrey, Clement Francis, and Laurence Wedgwood (who had been renting it) for £17,000 (Wedgwood and Wedgwood 1983, pp. 36, 304; CD’s Investment book (Down House MS)). In his Account books–banking account (Down House MS), CD recorded a payment of £1833 6s. 8d. on 20 November 1872, ‘From sale of Etruria’. Jos: Josiah Wedgwood III, Emma’s brother.
F: Frances Emma Elizabeth Wedgwood. Lady Bell: Marion Bell.
Henry Holland.
Marion Bell’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression (Appendix V). CD had praised the Essays on the anatomy and philosophy of expression (Bell 1844) of her husband, Charles Bell, in Expression, p. 2.
Hallow Park, near Worcester, was the home of a friend of the Bells; Bell died 29 April 1842 (Gordon-Taylor and Walls 1958, pp. 169–70). Marion Bell refers to Journal of researches.
Striach was a Skye-terrier (Bell 1870, p. 416). Granton is a seaport on the Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh. Ainslie Place was the Bells’ Edinburgh address.
Charles Bell was professor of surgery at Edinburgh University (ODNB).
After Charles Bell’s death, Marion Bell lived with her brother Alexander Shaw. Shaw published the third edition of Charles Bell’s Anatomy and philosophy of expression (Bell 1844).
Charles Bell believed that the ‘respiratory organ’ became progressively more complicated in animals as it came to be used not just for breathing but for communication and (in humans) articulate language. In humans, he identified ‘respiratory nerves’ associated with the respiratory apparatus; he believed these nerves were affected by emotion and responsible for the phenomena of expression. See Bell 1844, pp. 231–2.
In Expression, p. 2, CD quoted Albert Lemoine’s comment on Charles Bell’s Anatomy and philosophy of expression, which may be translated, ‘Ch. Bell’s book should be pondered by anyone who attempts to talk of the human face, by philosophers as well as by artists, since, despite its light tone and aesthetic pretext, it is one of the finest monuments of the science of the relations between the physical and the moral.’
Marion Bell refers to her brother Charles Shaw.


Encloses a letter from Lady Bell, which should be burnt when read.

Discusses finances.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B82–3, DAR 160: 126
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8636,” accessed on 27 April 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20