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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine Darwin   [26 October 1825]


Thursday Evening—

My dear Charles,

Papa and Susan are gone to dinner at the Salts’;1 and I, being alone, will write this page to you, and give you an account of all our gay proceedings of late. This letter bids fair to be very complex, I think; Papa has written a message to Dr Hawley on the bottom flap, which you must tear off, and give to him. We were very glad to hear of your safe arrival; and that you are so nuch pleased with Edinburgh— Papa sends his best thanks for the very nice letter he received and, remember that every little particular will be interesting— I must just mention that Edinburgh is spelt with an h at the end; and altogether has only one l, not alltogether, as you spelt it in your letter to Papa; do not be very cross at this, dear Charley.— I assure you I miss you very much, both to walk with me, and also for you know what; and as for poor Shelah2 and Spark, they look the pictures of melancholy, and are really grateful for any notice, from any body.— I have not yet told you how gay we have been lately; we have been as constant play goers as you can have been; for Macready3 has been here for the three last nights, and all our hearts, that were not quite gone before, are lost now— On Monday he acted William Tell, a beautiful play, & written by the same Liverpool gentleman as your favourite Virginius.4 He takes a little boy about with him, who acts the part of William Tell’s son very well indeed. On Tuesday, it was Othello, which is a disagreeable Play, I think to see; and besides we had such a horrid Desdemona; we were in great want of your lovee Mrs Brudenell,5 who, it is said here, is gone to the Edinburgh Theatre. I hope you will see her there. On Wednesday (Macready’s Benefit) we had Virginius again, which he acted more beautifully than any thing I ever saw in my life, and which I quite agree with you, in thinking by far his best character. He had promised to act in the Farce that night;6 but was so much offended at the empty houses & slight applause on Monday & Tuesday, that he would not.— He looks ill, & is said to be much out of health; he is going to his house in North Wales for a short time, to recruit his strength.— Fanny Wedgwood came over here again yesterday, on purpose to see him, and Caroline7 returns with her and Emma8 to Maer this morning, so we are quite a small party again—

What was the name of the schoolfellow you met with at the Hotel? how surprised you must have been—

Good bye, dear Charles, pray write soon— My love to Erasmus; ever yrs | E.—C.—D—


Probably the Thomas Salts. Salt was a partner of the Shrewsbury law firm of Dukes and Salt.
Darwin family dog.
William Charles Macready, who was at the height of his fame at this time.
Virginius (1820) and William Tell (1825) by James Sheridan Knowles. His plays were ‘a genuine and frequently popular attempt to blend heroic grandeur with a domesticity familiar to his audiences (“the scene is the Forum, but the sentiments those of the ‘Bedford Arms’ ”)’. (McGraw-Hill encyclopaedia of world drama 2 (1972): 484).
London playbills of September and October 1824 have Mrs Brudenell acting, mainly in comedies, at the Covent Garden and the Haymarket Theatre, but not in Macready’s company (Harvard College Library Theatre Collection).
At benefit performances, the proceeds of which went to the acting company, it was Macready’s custom to add a light comedy to the programme (Archer 1890, p. 61).
Caroline Sarah Darwin, CD’s elder sister.


Archer, William. 1890. William Charles Macready. London.


Shrewsbury news.

Glad he likes Edinburgh.

They have been going to plays performed by a travelling company he knows.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
OC 26 1825
Source of text
DAR 204: 21
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 17,” accessed on 20 September 2023,

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