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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Susan Darwin   [14 September 1831]


Wednesday Evening

My dear Susan

I arrived here yesterday evening: after a very prosperous sail of three days from London.— I suppose breathing the same air as a sea Captain is a sort of a preventive: for I scarcely ever spent three pleasanter days.— of course there were a few moments of giddiness, as for sickness I utterly scorn the very name of it.— There were 5 or 6 very agreeable people on board, & we formed a table & stuck together, & most jolly dinners they were.— Cap. Fitz. took a little Midshipman (who by the way knows Sir F. Darwin, his name is Musters)1 & you cannot imagine anything more kind & good humoured than the Captains manners were to him.— Perhaps you thought I admired my beau ideal of a Captain in my former letters: all that is quite a joke to what I now feel.— Every body praises him, (whether or no they know my connection with him) & indeed, judging from the little I have seen of him, he well deserves it.— Not that I suppose it is likely that such violent admiration—as I feel for him—can possibly last.— No man is a hero to his valet, as the old saying goes.—& I certainly shall be in much the same predicament as one.—

The vessel is a very small one; three masted; & carrying 10 guns: but every body says it is the best sort for our work, & of its class it is an excellent vessel: new, but well tried, & 12 again the usual strength.— The want of room is very bad, but we must make the best of it.—2 I like the officers, (as Cap. F. says they would not do for St. James, but they are evidently very intelligent, active determined set of young fellows.— I keep on ballancing accounts; there are several contra’s, which I did not expect, but on the other hand the pro’s far outweigh them.—

The time of sailing keeps on receding in a greater ratio, than the present time draws on: I do not believe we shall sail till the 20th of October.— I am exceedingly glad of this, as the number of things I have got to do is quite frightful.— I do not think I can stay in Shrewsbury more than 4 days.— I leave Plymouth on Friday and shall be in Cam: at the end of next week.—

I found the money at the Bank, & am much obliged to my Father for it.— My spirits about the voyage are like the tide, which runs one way & that is in favor of it, but it does so by a number of little waves, which may represent all the doubts & hopes that are continually changing in my mind. After such a wonderful high wrought simile I will write no more. So good bye, my dear Susan | Yours C. Darwin

Love to my Father.—


Charles Musters, listed as ‘Volunteer 1st Class’ by FitzRoy (Narrative 2: 20).
For a detailed description of the Beagle see Darling 1978.


Darling, L. 1978. HMS Beagle: further research, or twenty years a-Beagling. Mariner’s Mirror 64: 315–25.

Narrative: Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. [Edited by Robert FitzRoy.] 3 vols. and appendix. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


Pleasant three-day voyage to Plymouth has increased CD’s admiration for FitzRoy. Describes the Beagle as an excellent vessel, but the want of room is very bad. He likes the officers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Sent from
SE 14 1831
Source of text
DAR 223
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 126,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1