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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Susan Darwin   12 February 1836


February 12th. 1836

My dear Charles,

It is always my fate to write to wish you joy upon your Birthday; but thank goodness this is the last I can do so, into foreign parts.— You are today 27—and I hope all the rest of your life you may spend very happily amongst us.— we often speculate whether you will have had sufficient travelling to serve you for life: & I think the Yes’s Yes’s generally carry it.— Our two last letters have been full of your fame & glory so I will say nothing about it except that I am as much delighted as any of them at your present success & future prospect of distinguishing yourself in Geology— I was reading the other day part of your early Journal just before you left Plymouth when you made yourself an outline of how you meant to pass your time,1 & amongst your studies I was surprised to find no mention of Geology but this must have been an oversight, because just after your tour with Professor Sedgwick you must have been hot on the subject.—

You will I know be very glad to hear that Marianne had a little Girl on the 31st. of Janry. which has made her excessively happy— she is a very nice little thing they say, & is to be called Mary Susan.— Parky is grown a famous fine lad and gets on capitally at school being now at the head of his class— he says the only thing he remembers of Uncle Charles, is his teaching him to say “Oh berry.” Tom Eyton is also turned Author, & in return for yr Geological work, which we sent him; has sent us, two Numbers of a continuation of Bewicks Birds; which he means to proceed with. they have tale pieces also, but these are inferior to Bewicks.— I had no idea he could draw but the birds are most of them very well done.2

Erasmus is no longer in noisy lodgings in Regent St. but has taken a roomy house in Marlborough St & has set up housekeeping in earnest, how much he will be cheated remains to be proved,—however it is very nice for his friends as now we can visit him comfortably whenever we like, & you too will probably find it very useful to have good quarters always ready in town. Sarah Williams this winter when I was staying at Eaton, desired me to remind you with her love of your old engagement to come & take your first Dinner with her in Belgrave St: but tho’ I repeat this as I promised, we shall not allow you to go anywhere before you come to us at Shrewsbury: my dear Charley how delightful it will be to see you. I very often dream about you, besides thinking of you continually, and pity you in these horrid stormy equinoctial gales. I hope you won’t go exploring too boldly in New Holland as I think land dangers are more to be dreaded than sea one’s, and I am sorry to hear you are thinking of visiting Capt King if he lives far off Sidney.—

Poor Eras’s troubles about housekeeping are quite pathetic, first of all he was excessively puzzled how to get an old woman into his house without furniture, or furniture into his house without an old woman; & then after he had accomplished that difficulty he had to carry 13 Cab loads of Glass bottles &c from his Lab.— Still each letter is full of the “eternal botherations” as he calls them & now we are busy breaking in a horse to send up to London for him; as his beautiful grey horse is dead who I suppose lived & died since your days.—

Papa & we often cogitate over the fire what you will do when you return, as I fear there are but small hopes of your still going into the Church:— I think you must turn Professor at Cambridge & marry a Miss Jenner if there is one to be had.—

Old Nancy is very much pleased at your kind mention of her in yr Letters, & bids me tell you a day never passes without her thinking of yr return, which I fully believe poor old soul.

I wish we could hope to see yr hand writing before May. I long for some account of the Galapageos for I never read any thing about those frying hot Islands. God bless you my dear Charley may I see yr dear face in 6 months time & Ever believe me | Yr very affecte | Granny | S E Darwin


See ‘Beagle’ diary entry for 13 December 1831, p. 14.


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.

Eyton, Thomas Campbell. 1836. A history of the rarer British birds. 2 pts. London.


CD’s 27th birthday. News of family and friends. A niece, Mary Susan Parker, born 31 January.

Letter details

Letter no.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 97(ser. 2): 30–1
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 297,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

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