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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine Darwin   15 January [1826]


January 15th. | Sunday Morning.

My dear Charles,

Since you are so very flattering as to say you wish to hear from me, I am sure I can do no less than send you an account of our proceedings lately, tho’ I am afraid there is not much to be told— Caroline sends you her love and thanks for your very nice and agreeable letter.— Your description of the Lecturers is not very promising, but I hope Dr Duncan will continue to improve— Caroline and I have been spending a very pleasant week at Woodhouse, (where C— was painting) and yesterday we came on here to pay Marianne a pop visit, (which is her pet delight) till tomorrow, when we return home— The first object I saw here was Spark, grown considerably fatter, and most comfortably established quite at home; but what will you say for your child, when I tell you that she growled and snarled at us, and had even the impudence to snap Caroline’s finger! I think when you hear this, you will be almost staggered in your belief that she will recollect you; I must say, I thought her indifference to me particularly unkind, considering how much I always preferred her to your favourite, the old Duchess.— The name of “Shelah, Shelah” produced a very visible effect on her, as she pricked up her ears, and looked excessively puzzled— Dr Parker is very fond of her, and she is privileged to go into any room in the house, that she pleases.— Now that I have given you this long and minute account of Spark, perhaps I may tell you what a little fat, merry, rosy thing your little nephew is become—

What bitterly cold weather we have had lately; it is almost impossible to keep warm an inch from the fire; and you must be still worse off at Edinburgh— I had very good fun on the ice at Woodhouse; Francis and Arthur are at home now, as it is the holidays, and they drew the girls and myself about on sledges; and with a helping hand, sliding is very pleasant.— I was particularly unfortunate in getting innumerable tumbles, which I assure you caused no few peals of laughing, which was not a little provoking to me as I lay sprawling on the ice— Have you been skaiting at all? The frost you were wishing for, to dry the walks, has come at last, in good earnest, and it is prophesied here, will last for ever— William Owen is at Woodhouse now; he had been over to Ireland to get his hunters, and returned, just as we left it on Saturday— Do you know a Miss Monro, in Edinburgh? The Owens are going to play William a practical joke; i.e. he pretended to them that he could not endure Edinburgh or its amusements, when he was there, with his regiment; but they have discovered from Edward Clive, (who danced with Sarah at the Ball, & who is a great friend of William’s) that he was passionately in love with a Miss Monro, and that he was the only officer who went out in Edinburgh; but that he was alway⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ out, with Miss M.— The Owens mean to forge an invitation to William from a neighbouring place, mentioning that some Scotch friends are staying with them, and amongst the rest, a Miss Monro; and the Owens hope that William will ride over to call upon Miss M., and when he arrives there, will find how he has been bamboozled.— I am sure, dear Charley, you need never apologize to me, for writing a bad hand, for I shall give you great credit, if you are able either to read or to understand this long story.—

I never saw such merry, agreeable girls as Fanny and Sarah are; talking so easily and naturally, and so full of fun and nonsense— They are very much admired, and get plenty of partners at the Balls; but they are not at all more reconciled to England, and are longing to return to France.—

I forgot to tell you that I saw your friend Major Bayley, not long ago, who desired to be most particularly remembered to you; he is quite well again.—

We see a great deal of the Leightons; Susan has been paying them daily visits in her solitude; Clare is gone off in pleasantness I think; she is grown more affected and full of manner, and very pert to Louisa— Frank1 is at home now; I like him very much, he is so merry and goodnatured and has lost the finery he used to have.—

I know you will be 17, the 12th of next month.—

I dare say some of us will be writing very soon to the Wedgwoods, and then we will send your message to Jos.—

Goodbye, my dear old Boy; write to me soon; and believe me to be | Ever yr affectionate | E. Catherine Darwin.

My best love to Ras.—


Francis Knyvett Leighton, not to be confused with the Francis Leighton in the letter from E. A. Darwin, 14 November 1822, also of Shrewsbury.


Family news. Visits to the Owens at Woodhouse and the Parkers at Overton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
JAN W 18 E 1826
Source of text
DAR 204: 23
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 21,” accessed on 6 October 2022,

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