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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Fanny Owen   [July? 1828]

My dear Postillion,

Of course you are well initiated in all the black mysteries which I am sure are going on at the Forest, I think you know that if I have a punchon it is for a thorough good mystery, so I implore you to write me a full account of all that has been going on lately between the noble Houses of the Forest, Bliss Castle & Darwin-Hall.1 I am dying by inches to know all, & your well known and laudable thirst for useful knowledge has I am sure made you acquainted with every particular before this so pray sit down and relieve me from my dreadful state of haggitation — I have heard of your honoring the Forest with your presence, & regretted very much I was not there to win some of your shigs at écarté, or to make a beast of myself in the strawberry beds. I am afraid your holidays will be over before I grace Shropshire with my presence, for I don’t know at all how soon that will be, my bereaved Parents want me to return, and the Dean’s want to keep me—how it will be settled I don’t know—

Have you been at the Sale   I hear that brilliant Hare Mr. George Scott intended to buy a great deal of furniture if it went cheap, he means to furnish Cronkhill and “see Batchellors to dinner”. Shall you be included do you think, among the select batchellors — Pray tell me all the gossip—how goes on Miss Clarissa, Abyssinia & Donadavid Dallas,2 as for Caddy Pemby and Mr. Gibby I am tired of their names, for they never get on any further — but tell me any thing or every thing you know, the smallest intelligence will be thankfully received— I am sure if Ma’m Burton could hear of my corresponding with Mr. Charles Darwin, she would say dear me Ma’m what a sense of propriety Miss Fanny Owen must have, indeed I think it is quite incorrect, but it is to be hoped it may not reach her ears. I must conclude now, for my paper is full and my pen split up half an inch which puts me in horride passion—

so I remain dr. Postillion | yr. dutiful Housemaid | Fanny Owen—

I must put this in an envellope well sealed sisters I know peep so, and pray make a mystery of it, tell them there is something very particular—


Woodhouse, Maer Hall, and The Mount. The Mount, overlooking the Severn in Shrewsbury, was the residence of the Darwins. The house is now occupied by the Inland Revenue District Valuer and Valuation Officer, Salop. The grounds have been taken over by a suburban development of private residences.


Is eager to know all that goes on at the Forest [Woodhouse], Bliss Castle [Maer], and Darwin Hall [The Mount].

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances (Fanny) Mostyn Owen/Frances (Fanny) Myddelton Biddulph
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 45
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 44,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

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