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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Caroline Darwin   [22 March 1826]


My dear Charles

I hope you are a little reconciled to Erasmus’s absence by this time & I am very glad to to think you will not now have much more solitude. it is a great pity that Eras thought he should dislike his having acquaintances in Edinbourgh & so refused to take introductions. Experience, Eras tells me, he thinks will make you wiser than he was, & that you will not object to letters of introduction when you return to Ednbourgh. We have had a very merry gay week which I will give you an account of— On Wednesday Harry arr’d & on Thursday Hensleigh & the Owens of Woodhouse. Hensleigh has had his head shaved & we were puzzled now that his hair has begun to grow again & his wig not very new, whether he would look best as a new born babe, with a bald head, or with an old greenish wig too small for his head, the latter was determined upon contrary to my opinion, the consequence was, one eving we were all playing at cards, Hensleigh very eager, put forth his head & hand, so the wig fell back, Hensleigh twitched it & thought he had replaced it properly, but the wig was obstinate & sat on the point of his head the rest of the night, much to Fanny Owen’s amusement. On Thursday the Leightons & W. Owen dined & the tag rag had a very merry eving till 12 oclock, cards, dancing &tc. the next day the account came of Mrs Lethbridge’s (neice to Mr Owen) death & the girls were not allowed to go into court which was a great grief to them, but they rambled about the town all day. We had a large party to dinner—16. the Smythe Owens Mr Pelham & 2 lawers, a friend of Harrys & a friend of the Owens, we all played at cards again in the evening. the next day, Saturday—the girls again went rambling about the town longing to go into court. they met Mr Owen & after some entreaty he consented to take them in, but they must not tell Mrs. Owen, so in they went— mean while Mrs Owen who was also about the town met first one gentleman then another who said “how long have you come out of court.” “I have not been in at all”. “Nay, is that possible I have just seen you or yr daughters” Mrs. Owen when this had been said several times suspected some one had taken in the Miss Owens, & meeting Mr Owen told him what she thought, he pretended to go into a passion & said, “What my daughters in court, impossible, nonsense”— at last she found out all & was not very indignant.— they all went on Saturday. On Sunday after church Harry went by the Mail on his circuit. On Monday we had a party of Erasmus’s friends—Hildyard, Wakefield, Wingfield & Vaughan,1 I liked them all except the latter—whose manners I thought as bad as many of his opinions—he evidently rather laught at the suffrings of the poor slaves & admires some book which John Bull quotes which is I suppose taking the slave holder’s part—2 Moreover, he seemed ashamed of doing his duty as a clergyman, & said packs of cards he should be more likely to purchase than bibles & prayer books, & rather implied all very religious people were hypocrits, &c. I sat between him & Hildyard who I like very much & who when he saw I would not answer Vaughan when he laughed on religious subjects immediately joined in the conversation & so pleasantly that he quite confirmed my liking to him.—

dear Charles I hope you read the bible & not only because you think it wrong not to read it, but with the wish of learning there what is necessary to feel & do to go to heaven after you die. I am sure I gain more by praying over a few verses than by reading simply— many chapters— I suppose you do not feel prepared yet to take the sacrament—

it made me feel quite melancholy the other day looking at your old garden, & the flowers, just coming up which you used to be so happy watching I think the time when you & Catherine were little children & I was always with you or thinking about you was the happiest part of my life & I dare say always will be— Eras. is gone today with Hensleigh to pay Marianne a visit at Overton— Marianne will be very glad to see him

I am very sorry for your disappointing about the puppy it is a frightful fat little thing—

Good bye dear Charley | Yr affec sister | Caroline Darwin

do not when you write allude to the last part of my letter about Mr. Vaughan &tc. it would seem so spitefully gossiping to write what he said so many miles—


Frederick Hildyard, John Mort Wakefield, Edward John Wingfield, and (probably) William Vaughan. All attended Shrewsbury School with Erasmus and CD. In 1826 Hildyard and Wakefield were Assistant Masters at Shrewsbury.
John Bull, a popular Tory weekly, notorious for its disregard of the laws of libel, was founded in 1820 by Theodore Hook (Andrews 1859). It eventually became more restrained in its journalistic practices and, by 1859, was more representative of the Conservative press.


Andrews, Alexander. 1859. The history of British journalism, from the foundation of the newspaper press in England, to the repeal of the stamp act in 1855. 2 vols. London.


Tells of gay times with guests.

Letter details

Letter no.
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury MR 22 ⁠⟨⁠182⁠⟩⁠6 153
Source of text
DAR 204: 20
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 28,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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