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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline Darwin   30 September 1834


1834 | Sept 30th.

My dear Charles

We were delighted to receive your letter the week before last dated 6th. April from the Falkland Isles— Your account of those barren Isles was very interesting & of Patagonia. the Wedgwoods were surprised to find how much exagerated all former accounts of the heigth of the Patagonians had been, but my surprise was that they should really be such a fine race of men, most of them you said more than 6 feet— I hope by this time you will have had our letters saying we had received your journal, but for fear of their being lost, I will repeat we received the part of the journal ending July 1833, sent from Plata. I have been rereading with great pleasure both parts of it & shall be very glad when we get a third part. My Father does not know who the Hon Col Walpole was you mention—but it could not have been any one you have heard of at Walcot— Uncle Jos & Elizabeth were staying here when your letter arrived & they read it & saw your affectionate message & remembrance of them—& Charlotte likewise—who was here with Mr. Langton— I am sorry to say he is very delicate subject to cough & a delicate chest, so much so, that they intend wintering at the Isle of Wight—poor Charlotte is very anxious about him— they seem very happy & attached to each other— Uncle Jos franked your servants letter on to Mrs. Hewston—

I do not find I have any thing to tell you that has happened during the last month, but no want of news shall prevent a letter being sent to you the end of every month to tell you my Father is well— I do not remember when I have seen him more pleased, than on receiving your last happy satisfactory letter— saying again, and again, how glad he was to have heard from you & that you were well & safe. it was a great comfort to know you had always been prudent & fortunate enough to get into no difficulties in your several ad- ventures. pray dear Charles do not let the having escaped so long make you careless & daring for the time to come. Sarah Williams dined here the day before yesterday— she is not at all changed by her marriage the same hearty friendly creature she ever was— when she heard that you had left Terra del Fuego and had vowed you would return there no more—she was furious“What a shame! & he promised I should have a letter from him dated from Terra del Fuego”— She desired her best love, & hopes you will receive a letter she wrote directed to Valparaiso—

The Biddulphs are returned from their Swiss Tour— Fanny looking exceedingly thin, but exceedingly pretty— Charles Owen is gone to Rugby & Henry who you left a good little boy is now aiming at being a Dandyfied young man— wearing a worked velvet waistcoat, white gloves & a cane! William Owen is beginning to recover from his accident, stands for a few moments every day & there are great hopes he will escape a stiff joint.

My sisters have been staying a fortnight in Monmouthshire with the John Wedgwoods but I know nothing worth telling about their visit & I have been for a few days to Overton—these have been the only outings during the last month— Marianne is very well but already beginning to fret a little at the prospect of losing Parky whose fate is at last determined, & to school he is to go next Easter— I dined at Onslow not long ago & met there a Mrs. Murchison at least I cant remember the name but you will know, she being the wife of the Cambridge Mineralogist—1 She was excessively interested about the fate of Jemmy Button & Fuegia—having known & seen a ⁠⟨⁠great⁠⟩⁠ deal of the latter— I am very glad you have seen poor Jemmy again & that he is happy though relapsed into his old uncivilized habits— Frederick Hope who is al⁠⟨⁠ways⁠⟩⁠ blundering, told us that the Admiralty had ordered the Beagle home—but this cannot have any truth for its foundation or I think we should certainly have heard from some of your friends if it had been in contemplation— I give you joy most heartily on the new animals you have found.— Erasmus & Susan told you in their last letter Aug 30th.2 how delighted Mr. Clift was with your former specimens & that he thought the last boxes which had arrived contained remains of much value

When I told Nancy how your beard was let to grow—& gave her your goodnatured message that she would take you for an old jew—she burst out crying. I really think poor Nancy looks forward with as much delight to seeing you again as ever my Father or any of us do.

I took Pincher & Nina a walk through some of the Berwick fields & Pincher still remembers your training so well, that though a Hare sprung up just before us & he looked as if he would have given worlds to follow he obeyed & walked close behind me without attempting to have a Hunt—

We have had workmen without end this summer about the House new slating &c, & latterly pulling down & rebuilding the green house on rather a larger scale than before— the wood was so bad that it was not supposed safe—so that we might have had a grand clash of glass some day— the Laboratory is turned into a Laundry is the other alteration Erasmus when he came home in the summer found every thing turned topsy turvy people ironing in his Lab, & a baby in his bed room, the Hensleigh children having taken possession of his room, we not expecting him so soon as he did come—

This is all sad twaddle to send across the world but it must be excused for one day passes so like another that nothing I have to tell you— So good bye my dear old Charles God bless you & I hope we may soon have some time to look forward ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ when we may hope to see you— Ever yrs very af⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ Caroline Darwin.

My Fathers kindest lo⁠⟨⁠ve⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠an⁠⟩⁠d my sisters—


The Cambridge Professor of Mineralogy was William Hallowes Miller, but he did not marry until 1844 (DNB). ‘Murchison’ is likely to be the correct name, since the Roderick Impey Murchisons frequented fashionable circles in London, where the Fuegians were lionised, and Murchison was a friend of Colonel John Wingfield of Onslow (see Murchison 1839, pp. 39–40).
This letter is missing, as are the other letters from the family for the months of June, July, and August 1834, though CD eventually received them (see letter to Caroline Darwin, [19] July – [12 August] 1835).


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Murchison, Roderick Impey. 1839. The Silurian system, founded on geological researches in the counties of Salop, Hereford, Radnor, Montgomery, Caermarthen, Brecon, Pembroke, Monmouth, Gloucester, Worcester, and Stafford; with descriptions of the coal-fields and overlying formations. 2 pts. London. [Vols. 4,7]


News of family and friends.

Word that William Clift thinks CD’s latest fossils are of much value.

Letter details

Letter no.
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 81
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 257,” accessed on 28 May 2023,

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