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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [28 April 1858]1

Moor Park.


My dearest.

The weather is quite delicious. Yesterday after writing to you I strolled a little beyond the glade for an hour & half & enjoyed myself—the fresh yet dark green of the grand Scotch Firs, the brown of the catkins of the old Birches with their white stems & a fringe of distant green from the larches, made an excessively pretty view.— At last I fell fast asleep on the grass & awoke with a chorus of birds singing around me, & squirrels running up the trees & some Woodpeckers laughing, & it was as pleasant a rural scene as ever I saw, & I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed.—

I sat in drawing room till after 8 & then went & read the Chief Justices summing up & thought Barnard guilty2 & then read a bit of my novel, which is feminine, virtuous, clerical, philanthropical & all that sort of thing but very decidedly flat. I say feminine, for the author is ignorant about money matters, & not much of a Lady—for she make her men say “My Lady.”3

I like Miss Craik very much, though we have some battles & differ on every subject.4 I like also the Hungarian; a thorough gentleman, formerly attachè at Paris & then in Austrian Cavalry & now a pardoned exile, with broken health5 He does not seem to like Kossuth, but says he is, he is certain, a sincere patriot, most clever & eloquent, but weak with no determination of character.—6 Mr. Craik looks far more bloated than ever.7 Mr Carr is simply very dull & very silent, but looks a gentleman.—8

Farewell my own | Best love to Etty9 & all | C. D.


The second Wednesday of CD’s stay at Moor Park hydropathic establishment (‘Journal’; Appendix II). From the contents, it seems probable that the letter was written after the letter to Emma Darwin, [25 April 1858].
Simon Francis Bernard was charged with complicity in the plot to assassinate Louis Napoleon, emperor of France. He was acquitted by the jury. The summary of the chief justice, John Campbell, was printed in The Times, 19 April 1858.
The novel has not been identified.
Georgiana Marion Craik was a novelist. CD had first met her at Moor Park in November 1857. On 10 November 1857, in a geological memorandum, CD had noted (DAR 205.9 (3): 332): Still more why if animals have [‘descended’ del] (mem. Miss Craik’s objection) been modified why do we do not find all *intermediary fossil [interl] stages.— I fully admit this one of the apparent, perhaps, real difficulties of many encountered, ie on the common view of geological record—.
Lajos Kossuth, president of the short-lived Hungarian republic, was living in exile in England (EB).
George Lillie Craik was Georgiana Craik’s father. He was professor of English literature at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Not identified.


EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.


CD recounts an idyllic stroll and nap – "as pleasant a rural scene as ever I saw, and I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Moor Park
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 34
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2261,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7