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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Susan Darwin   12[–28] February 1834


February 12th. | 1834

My dear Charles

This is your Birthday; so I must begin my letter to wish you joy, and many happy returns of it (but not abroad) mind that.

Papa who never forgets anniversarys remembered this day of course at Breakfast and sends you his best love & blessing on reaching 25 years. Poor old Nurse Nancy entertained me all the time I was dressing this morg with many lamentations over your absence on this day when you ought to be eating Plum pudding with us, & all the Servants say she has not failed to put them in mind of you; so as I have often told you before, you are not forgotten by the least of us.—

We are very anxious for your next letter to tell us how you escaped from Buenos Ayres & what is become of yr Luggage, but before this month is up I hope to hear news of you.— My Sisters have told you how very much we enjoyed your Journal and what a nice amusing book of travels it wd. make if printed, but there is one part of your Journal as your Granny I shall take in hand namely several little errors in orthography of which I shall send you a list that you may profit by my lectures tho’ the world is between us.— so here goes.—

wrong right according to sense. ——————————————————— loose. lanscape. higest lose. landscape. highest. profil. cannabal profile. cannibal. peaceable peacible. quarrell quarrel.— I daresay these errors

are the effect of haste, but as your

Granny it is my duty to point them


We have had the most surprising mild winter that ever was known or at least that I remember: not one days hard frost or anything like snow. I regret this for no reason except the Ice house being empty.— In consequence of this our Spring flowers in Febry are in full blow but there is no pleasure with them so early.—

Parliament has just met & we read aloud the debates in the Eveg— Mr. O’Connell1 still keeps the upperhand by talking & boring the House with Irelands wrongs till one is quite sick of him & his country.— I suppose Church & Corn Laws will be the great things this Session.—

We have not heard from Erasmus the last month he has taken a naughty fit and nothing can make him write. we have all three written in turns to reproach him in vain. Last year once he did the samething & then he confessed afterwards that he kept silent so long on purpose as he hoped to make us believe he was gone abroad.— He is quite a grand gentleman now with his own Cab and horse— we are expecting from London every day a new little Phaeton as the Car is pronounced quite unseaworthy.—

We had a very gay day yesterday 6 Owens came over to see a famous Conjuror perform at the Fox Inn which tempted Mr Owen to bring over Baby—& we were all much amused: his chief feat was shewing us how to sit upon nothing! which certainly might be a very useful accomplishment.

Francis Owen sails this Summer for the East Indies—how pleased poor Arthur will be to see him.—

Next time we have any opportunity of sending you books I ⁠⟨⁠sha⁠⟩⁠ll certainly send you “Peter Simple” the best Novel that has come out a long time, & will just suit you now as it is written by a Naval Officer Captain Maryatt:2 and the sea terms which puzzled us you will understand & relish.— About a fortnight ago I went to Acton Burnell3 to stay three days to meet the Owens. I enjoyed my visit extremely as I had never been there before & we walked a great deal about the Park which is very beautiful Emma Owen & I went to Mass one morg very early and I never saw anything like the mummery that was performed by the Priest and one of the Footmen in Livery who I suppose acted as Clerk— One of the Priests seemed to be quite captivated by Emma made her presents, and I am sure hopes to make a Convert of her— He has sent her a pair of Slippers worked by himself.— We have not seen Fanny Biddulph for some time the last thing we heard of was her sending poor Bijou the Poodle to Ireland with a Capt White who has begged it from her— The poor Dog latterly had been kept quite shut up at Chirk Castle so it is rather a happy change for it.—

Yesterday Robert Wedgwood came over here on his road to Welsh Pool to look at a Living which William Clive has offered to give him: but as it is only worth 120 pound a year he wd. not be better off than at Maer with his two Curacys so I suppose he will not accept it.— We are just returned from spending three days at Ness where Capt Cotton4 one of Mr. Cottons brothers was staying. he is a Navy Capt. just returned after 5 years absence & we heard a gt deal of naval talk. he is very handsome & agreeable, & remembers having once seen Capt Fitzroy as a Midshipman.—

It is in vain to keep my letter any longer open for the chance of hearing from you as I am afraid you must have sailed for Valparaiso without being able to write fr Buenos Ayres so Good bye my dearest old Charley from yr very affectionate Susan Darwin


Acton Burnell, south-east of Shrewsbury, the seat of Sir Edward Joseph Smythe, Bart (Bagshaw 1851, p. 498).


Bagshaw, Samuel. 1851. History, gazetteer, and directory of Shropshire. Sheffield.


Writes on CD’s 25th birthday.

Points out "errors in orthography" in his journal.

News of family and friends, visits, and other social events.

Letter details

Letter no.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury FE 28 1834
Source of text
DAR 204: 102
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 237,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

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