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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Wedgwood   [7 August 1838]

[36 Great Marlborough Street]

Tuesday Evening

My dear Emma

Many thanks for the news of the Bazaar, & for Elizabeth’s purchases, which sound like capital bargains.— You tell me not to be mean-spirited & to speak the truth; I confess therefore, just when I opened the letter, that the number of figures did astound me, & my eye hurried instinctively to the bottom of the page,—but I stoutly maintain, immediately I saw the sum total, & before I had read Fanny’s delicate insinuation about the wax doll for Snow, that I perceived it was a take in. Therefore it is clear you have wholly failed.

I am ungrateful enough to think you were all very foolish not to make me, when in your power, purchase some more valuables.— For the honor of the family, I am glad to hear there were some few uglier things at the Bazaar than those you took.— So now I have had my spite out, in revenge for your endeavour, (which mind well was a failure) to take me in.—

My journey up was dull enough— I was altogether disappointed with the railroad— it was so rough & so much plague with the many changes.— At Birmingham, I heard a head-man scolding furiously a guard for something he had done— he ended with the remark—not particularly consolotary to me, who had no very clear idea, where they had hurried my luggage,—“& that is the reason, we lose so many things every day.”— It was raining hard, when we reached London, & the scramble for the luggage was glorious;—two or three poor old ladies, I suspect, died broken hearted that same night.— poor old souls they appeared greatly agitated.— Marlborought St looked quite grand to my countrified eyes— The Darwin & Wedgwood Arms1 is doing no business & the landlord is in complete state of quietude.— This Marlborough St is a forlorn place.— We have no ducks here, much less geese, & as for that sentimental fat goose2 we ate over the Library fire,—the like of it seldom turns up.— I feel the same spiteful joy at hearing you have had no other geese, as rightly supposed I should take about the rain.—

If the rain continues, & you chance to feel dull,—a case which we cockneys suspect often happens with you country folk & though I must confess I can hardly fancy it at Maer,—do get the last series of Mr Slick of Slickville sayings—3 I read a few chapters yesterday; they are dreadful odd & amazing comical,—& that is a fact,—as Mr Slick himself would say.—

Pray remember I consider myself invited to Maer, the next time I come down into the country.— in fact, I think I have been so often that I have a kind of a vested right, so see me you will, & we will have another goose.—

Believe me, dear Emmma | Yours most sincerely | Chas. Darwin.

Will you tell Caroline, that I expect to receive her watch to night & I want to know, what I am do with it.—


E. A. Darwin lived at 43 Great Marlborough Street; the Hensleigh Wedgwoods were frequent visitors.
CD and Emma used the word ‘goose’ to mean an intimate talk or cozy chat (see letter to Emma Wedgwood, [14 November 1838], and letter from Emma Wedgwood, [23 December 1838]).


Haliburton, Thomas Chandler. 1837–8. The clockmaker; or the sayings and doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville. Ser. 1, 2. London.


His [first] railway journey was disappointing.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 3
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 423,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2