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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Dear Friend1   12 January 1822

My Dear friend

I hope you had a pleasant ride yesterday on Domben2   I had a very pleasant walk   at first we were very dull but afterward we were quite merry till Curnell Burg Leighton3 stoped us and walked with us in the quarry   I have had such fun with nany and May4 about some stuff** that I thought very shocking   it is in paling [skin]   I thought it rogue5   I believ⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ it cost eighteen pence a saucer of it—and that [Maryan] called very dear

I remain your Pug puller

**that stuff in the washroom

January 12th. 1822—

remember next summer to make two cave one for warlike instruments, the othe⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠ for relicks. Note spoon, old spear knife squirt if it can be found, and the name cut on the ash tree over the seat in the bank by the nut tree I belife that is all   ove[r] the lief a plan of a machine diagram x a pin drove in the bark on which a piece of wood can turn up and down, aa the piece of wood, bb two pieces of string going down [over] the bank, cc two weights insted of springs, dd two pieces of coulored rag or ribbon e the tree on whi⁠⟨⁠ch⁠⟩⁠ I sit, g the bank, f [one word illeg]   when the red rag is pulled up come to me, when the other lie still.6

Papa told me that Fridy perhaps I should go to Walcut to see all the beutiful things there7 but he told me not to set my mind upon it so therefore your affectionate pug whom you gave a good cough.

Remember this time ask Downs, the drums shall beat, the fifes shall play— and it is all for the sake of——8

I went to Athelton where I say Miss reynols and I like her very much   I think her very pretty but I do not know she was a friend of Mariane and Caroline9 he[r] mothe[r] is half a quaker and I like her very murch, I believe Miss Reynols is going to be marriend to a clergyman, and has been under trial 1 2 3 4 or 5 year before Mrs Reynols would let her may him, and he has given some living, but I am not shure about this10   I like Mr and Mrs W Cluide11 very much indeed particularly Mr Clude but I dont thing Erasmus does for your must know he was with me   indeed I dont think Erasmus liked it all together but I am [oky] I did, I think Miss and young Master Clude much mor[e] [talkative]


The friend has not been identified. See this volume, Supplement, letter to Dear Friend, 1 January 1822, n. 1.
CD refers to the Darwin family horse, Dobbin (see Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix III).
Burgh Leighton, lieutenant-colonel in the Fourth Light Dragoons lived at Quarry Place, Shrewsbury (Burke’s peerage, Commercial directory for Shropshire). The Leightons were family friends of the Darwins (see this volume, Supplement, first letter to Dear Friend, 4 January 1822 and n. 4).
CD probably refers to his sister, Marianne Darwin. The nanny has not been further identified.
Presumably a misspelling of ‘rouge’.
In a separate series of notes probably written at a similar time, and certainly after 1821, CD recorded ‘Our language and signs’, including ‘One pull,— Come | Two pulls,— Lie still’ (CUL, Ursula Mommens deposit). These may have been written for Emily Catherine Darwin (Browne 1995, p. 14).
Walcot is a township about six miles from Shrewsbury. Walcot Park was the home of Edward Clive, first earl of Powis, and Henrietta Antonia Clive, countess of Powis (Burke’s peerage). Both the earl and the countess were patients of CD’s father, Robert Waring Darwin, who gave medical advice to the countess on 5 January 1822, and visited the earl at Walcot on 25 January 1822 (DAR 227.5: 67 f. 260). CD later remembered often accompanying his father on visits to patients (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix III). Walcot Park had been rebuilt and furnished by the earl’s father, Robert Clive, also known as ‘Clive of India’, one of the richest men in the country, and enlarged by the earl to house treasures acquired during his governorship of Calcutta (DNB, Treasures from India).
Possibly a reference to William James Downes, a fellow pupil of CD’s, who left Shrewsbury School in 1823 (Shrewsbury School register). See also Correspondence vol. 1, letter from E. A. Darwin, 5 [March 1823]. The fife and drum were the traditional instruments used for signalling in English infantry regiments, and also for medieval mumming (Grove 1980).
CD probably refers to Arleston, a hamlet in the township of Wellington, Shropshire, about eleven miles east of Shrewsbury (Post Office directory of Gloucestershire, with Bath, Bristol, Herefordshire, and Shropshire 1856). Hannah Reynolds and her daughter, Susanna, lived at Ketley Bank, near Arleston. Hannah Reynolds was both niece and daughter-in-law of the Quaker ironmaster and philanthropist Richard Reynolds, a friend of CD’s grandfather, Josiah Wedgwood I (DNB). Susanna Reynolds married John Bartlett; Bartlett was appointed perpetual curate of Buildwas, Shropshire, in 1822 (Alum. Cantab.). See Two Shropshire ironmasters.
William Pemberton Cludde of Orleton Hall, near Wellington, Shropshire, and his wife, Anne Maria (Burke’s landed gentry, s.v. Herbert of Orleton).


Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Grove, George. 1980. The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. 20 vols. London: Macmillan.


Was joined by Colonel Burgh Leighton when walking in the quarry. Plans to make caves next summer to store "warlike instruments" and "relicks". Sketches a design for a signalling device. May go with his father to visit the Earl of Powys at Walcot; visited Mrs and Miss Reynolds and William Pemberton Cludde.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
DAR 271.1.1: 6v
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1M,” accessed on 23 May 2024,

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