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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Dear Friend1   4 January 1822

My Dear friend

you must know that after my Georgraphy, she2 said I should go down to ask for Richards3 poney, just as I was going, she said she must ask me not a very decent question, that was whether I wash all over every morning   no   then she said it was quite disgustin   then she asked me if I did every other morning, and I said no   then she said how often I did, and I said once a week, then she said of cour you wash your feet every day, and I said no, then she begun saying how very disgusting and went on that way a good while, then she said I ought to do it, I said I would wash my neck and shoulders, then she said you had better do it all over   then I said upon my word I would not, then she told me, and made me promise I would not tell, then I said, why I only wash my fett once a month at school, which I confess is nasty, but I cannot help it, for we have nothing to do it with,4 so then Caroline pretended to be quite sick, and left the room, so then I went and told erasmus,5 and he bust out in laughing and said I had better tell he to come and wash them her self, besides that she said she did not like sitting by me or Erasmus for we smelt of not washing all over, there we sat arguing away for a good while.

I remain your affectionately

Justice [burst] w[ith] a nose as big as your fist

January the 2, 1822

The second letter today6


The friend has not been identified. See this volume, Supplement, letter to Dear Friend, 1 January 1822, n. 1.
CD refers to his sister Caroline Sarah Darwin. Caroline had taught CD at home before he started attending school and was presumably supervising his studies during the school holiday (see Autobiography, p. 22, and this volume, Supplement, letter to Dear Friend, 1 January 1822, n. 1).
Richard or Richards has not been further identified.
On the sanitary arrangements at Shrewsbury School in the early nineteenth century, see Oldham 1952, p. 155.
Since this letter appears in the book immediately after the letter to Dear Friend, 4 January 1822 (this volume, Supplement), it has been given a clear date of 4 January. The written date, 2 January, is presumably a mistake.


Oldham, J. Basil. 1952. A history of Shrewsbury School 1552–1952. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.


Caroline disapproves of his not washing.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
DAR 271/1/1
Physical description
AL 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1K,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)