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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   13 May [1857]1


May 13th

My dear Willy

We have got your Sunday & Tuesday letters.— Will you tell Mrs Kynnersley2 that I am very sorry to say that really have not one single aquaintance left in S. America: it is now 24–25 years since I was there, & the English population is a floating & changeable one.—

Mamma has used you very ill, & quite forgot about your Flute, but I have found it, & it shall go off tomorrow morning by the Post together with this note.— So you may “tootle” to your heart’s content. What a dining out gentleman you have become!—

With respect to allowance we will settle it this summer Holidays: £40 sounds a good lot, nearly as much as Parslow’s wages;3 but I daresay it is not too much. Try & find out more particulars, & whether any other Boys have an allowance.—

Mamma, Miss Thorley & Etty returned yesterday:4 I grieve to say Etty is not one bit better: everything must bend to her health, & Mamma will take her to Moor Park in a fortnight’s time, stay a fortnight, & then I shall go there again for a bit.—5 What we shall do in summer, it is really impossible to say: if we do not go to Malvern, we will try our best to think of some lark or amusement for all of you.—6 Mamma thinks if Water Cure does suit Etty, we had better go to Malvern to complete it, but I shd. prefer leaving her longer at Moor Park.—7 It is very disheartening for me, that all the wonderful good which Moor Park did me at the time, has gone all away like a flash of lightening, now that I am at work again. And eheu, eheu, I have left off Snuff for nothing!—8

On Friday Aunt Susan is coming, on Saturday Uncle Harry & Aunt Jessie, on Monday Fanny Frank, & on tomorrow week Aunt Catherine, so we have lots of visitors expected,—a good lot too many, now poor dear Etty is so indifferent.9

What a capital Hand you have directed your two last notes in; it was quite Ducal.—

Ever my dear Son | Your’ affect Father | C. Darwin


The year is established by the references to family trips and visitors to Down House (see nn. 4, 5, and 9, below).
Mrs Clements John Kynnersley, née Mary Sneyd. The Sneyds of Staffordshire were old friends of the Darwin family.
According to CD’s Classed accounts book (Down House MS), Joseph Parslow received £44 per year for his services as butler at Down House.
Miss Thorley was the governess of the Darwin children until January 1857, when she was replaced by Miss Pugh. According to Emma Darwin’s diary, she had cared for Henrietta Emma Darwin at Hastings from 30 April until 11 May 1857. Emma and Henrietta Darwin returned to Down on 12 May.
Emma Darwin took Henrietta to Moor Park, where she was to undergo the water-cure under Edward Wickstead Lane’s care, on 29 May 1857 (Emma Darwin’s diary). CD went there on 16 June, returning home on 30 June (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
According to her diary, Emma Darwin took the children to Barlaston and then to Shrewsbury from 23 June to 6 July 1857.
Henrietta remained at Moor Park until 7 August 1857 but returned there for further treatment on 22 August, staying until 31 October (Emma Darwin’s diary).
Like James Manby Gully, Lane insisted that CD stop taking snuff while undergoing hydropathy (see Lane 1857, p. 82).
Susan Elizabeth Darwin arrived at Down on 15 May 1857; Henry Allen (Harry) Wedgwood and his wife Jessie and daughters Louisa and Caroline (Carry) came on 16 May; and Frances Mosley Wedgwood, wife of Francis (Frank) Wedgwood, and her daughter Cecily joined them on 18 May (Emma Darwin’s diary). Emily Catherine Darwin’s visit was not recorded.


Discusses family health and affairs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 15
Physical description
ALS 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2091,” accessed on 23 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6