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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Fanny Owen   [late January 1828]


My dear Postillion,

You must have thought the Housemaid most awfully changed by the Brighton Air to suppose for a moment that she had dashed with indignation your agreable letter into the flames and determined to treat its author with merited disdain. The real reason why I did not long ago send you a leetle effusion was that you told me you were going to Cambridge the end of the month, now that word Cambridge sounded most formidable to my ears; I had visions of Mrs. Burton constantly starting up before me, which seemed to say, “Dear me Ma’am would you believe it Miss Fanny Owen corresponds with a young man Ma’am at the University” this horrid phantom appear’d to me so often and worked upon my heated fancy to such a degree that after mature deliberation I thought it best to remain silent and if the Postillion should be in a fury at my ingratitude to explain it all away when we shall meet once more at the Forest—& now you see Mrs. Burton has been the cause of all this I hope you will forgive the poor Housemaid— Of course you have heard of the wonderful event going to take place viz the Woodhouse family actually going to set forth on their travels— Heaven grant the old Van may not fall to peices before they reach London: but I think it will be a miracle if it ever reaches its destination—

I suppose Shrewsbury is full of gossip and scandal as there has just been a meeting of all the surrounding families, to stare at and talk scandal of their neighbours— I suppose all the Shrewsbury young Ladies worked their fingers ends off for the Bazaar, Caddy Pemby of course amongst the number & I am very curious to hear what they did and how the valuable articles sold—it must have been good fun seeing Miss Clarissa behind the Counter—

I was at a very gay Ball on Wednesday night plenty of red Coats & Moustachio’s which you say must be pleasant I like Blue & silver better—

I have been riding a great deal too lately which is very pleasant. When Mr. Hill was here he got me a very nice Horse belonging to a useful friend and since I have been riding with the Anson’s—

I must conclude this for I must write to my much injured Catherine— I only hope I may appease you both & excuse this scrawl but I have such a Pen and besides never could write like any thing but what I am, a Housemaid so dr. Postillion ever yr| F Owen

Burn this as soon as read—or tremble at my fury and revenge—


Tells him the Woodhouse family will set forth for return home.

Reports on activities in Brighton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances (Fanny) Mostyn Owen/Frances (Fanny) Myddelton Biddulph
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 43
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 38,” accessed on 18 September 2023,

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