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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood and Louisa Holland to F. E. E. Wedgwood   [21 and 24 November 1836]1



My dear Fanny

I am in some hopes that we may have a letter from you today & I hope it may bring us word that you are returned to Clapham for there is no saying how long you may be kept there. Ellen & Caroline are with us now, they were very anxious about her for several days but now they think it may go on for another fortnight. It was really too goodnatured of you offering to be with Marianne & I am a little vexed with her for letting you come which I think she ought not to have done.2 Do mind & take care of yourself & above all keep out of the way of being frightened & never mind if you happen to be out of the way at the critical time as she cannot want you then.

We enjoyed Charles’s visit uncommonly we had been very handsome in inviting all the outliers of the family to meet him & the last morning the chaise from Tern hill did not come and we persuaded them to stay & had just made ourselves comfortable & planned a walk when the chaise arrived, however we got them to let us send it off though Caroline felt it to be rather naughty & we had a very nice snug day of them to ourselves.3 Charles talked away most pleasantly all the time we plied him with questions without any mercy. Harry & Frank4 made the most of him & enjoyed him thoroughly. Caroline looks so happy & proud of him it is delightful to see her. We had her a whole month & I never enjoyed a visit of hers so much she was so very nice & settled herself more at home here than usual. Uncle Allen & my Aunts5 came on Friday. It was a pleasant surprize seeing Fanny as your letter was the only hint we had heard on the subject.6 Mrs Holland and Louisa7 are amused with the Tollets & like them, but poor Ellen is very poorly today & I fully believe she is going to have the chicken pox as Caroline has lately had it so we shall not be so brilliant this evening I am afraid.

I had a very tidy visit at Betley Court of one day last week. Mr & Mrs Butt & Cath. Edwards & the Tollets were there so it was not dull at all, but I am not fond of Catherine & I dont approve of her mother.8

I have heard such a melancholy account from Frances of poor Maria Acland who was taken ill soon after she got to Kingscote & they had great difficulty in persuading her to move to Glocester.9 Frances only is with her & I can fancy nothing more melancholy for her as Maria’s spirits are extremely depressed & she constantly thinks herself dying & though the Drs tell Frances that it is entirely a nervous feeling she finds it very difficult to help being alarmed she mentions her lying for an hour quite white & cold but not faint. I must say in excuse for Mrs Acland & the sisters that the Dr desires she may have nobody else with her & made some difficulty in allowing Frances to stay & she has sisters within her reach at Bristol.10 Mamma11 is quite uncommonly well & talks a great deal to Uncle Allen. I am very glad it happens that she is so well for all their sakes.

Charles was quite angry with Charlotte’s12 picture. He studied it many times to see if he could find any likeness & said, “I hope to fate she is not like that picture.” I suppose he has rather a poetical idea of her for the picture is certainly very like. Eliz.13 desires her best love to you & thanks for yr letter. She wants you very much to go home & let things take their course. It will be very bad for you & with Miss Vaughan & Georgina she can’t want you.14 Mamma wants Hensleigh to look at a handsome edition of Shakespear with prints by way of a wedding present to Mrs Tom,15 or if there is any other book he can think of. I wd not make the prints a sine qua non as they are really not the least improvement

Thursday. Poor Ellens malady turns out to be the chicken pox so she is confined to her appartment. I fully expect to have it but it does not much signify as it is very trifling. I shall direct this to Clapham as I dare say you are gone back. Mrs Wicksted is foraging for recruits for the Newcastle ball but as her own sisters in law will not go, duty does not call me.16 Jos17 is in a bustle so I can write no more. I heard of you at the Aldersons from Uncle Baugh.18

How wonderfully Marianne keeps up her spirits | Yours affectly | Em W

My dear Fanny

I hope Hensleigh has not set me down as very ungrateful and ungracious, for taking no manner of notice of his prompt and capital execution of my boa commission. I thought it a remarkably nice one, very pretty looking and so excessively soft feeling and light. Will you thank him much for his trouble and kindness; the price I thought wonderfully cheap. Emma says that if I pay her she will manage the transmitting the sum to Hensleigh, so I hope it may reach him safely in the course of time. We have had a very pleasant week with the Darwins at Shrewsbury whom we left on Monday last, we were much pleased with the lion, Charles, who has excited the curiosity of the whole county apparently for during our stay there he was constantly employed in [rotating] levees of lords and all the great people round. I hope to hear that you are relieved from your anxious post which you have so good naturedly undertaken. Believe me cousin to remain with love to Hensleigh | Yours affecately | Louisa Holland


The date is established by the postmark; the Monday before 26 November 1836 was 21 November; Thursday was 24 November. A summary extract of this letter was published in Correspondence vol. 1 with the headline, ‘From Emma Wedgwood to F. M. Wedgwood, [21 November 1836]’.
CD arrived at Maer from London on 12 November and left on 16 November (see Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I). For another description of his visit, see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from S. E. (Elizabeth) Wedgwood to Hensleigh Wedgwood, [16] November [1836]; see also ibid., letter to W. D. Fox, 15 December [1836].
John Hensleigh Allen Sr and possibly one or more of his sisters. Sarah Wedgwood, Emma’s paternal aunt, was also present (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from S. E. (Elizabeth) Wedgwood to Hensleigh Wedgwood, [16] November [1836]).
Betley Court is about eight miles from Maer; the Tollets lived at nearby Betley Hall. The other guests were Thomas Butt, Catherine Butt, and her daughter, Catherine James Edwards.
Maria Acland (1802–44), and possibly her sister Frances Acland. Kingscote, Gloucestershire, was the home of John Wedgwood.
Mrs Acland: Maria Acland (1781–1856). One sister, Ellen Harrison, was living at Bristol.
Elizabeth Wedgwood (1764–1846).
Georgina Tollet was Marianne Clive’s sister; Miss Vaughan has not been identified.
Mary Charlotte Meysey Wicksted; her sisters-in-law were the Misses Tollet.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Tells of the pleasure that CD’s visit gave the family.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin; Louisa Holland/Louisa Croft
Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Mackintosh/Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Wedgwood
Sent from
26 NO 26 | 1836
Source of text
V&A / Wedgwood Collection (MS WM 233)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 324,” accessed on 18 September 2023,