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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [25–6 November 1838]



My dear Charles

Your letter1 has just come in & as I am sitting with Mamma instead of going to church I shall find it much pleasanter to have a little talk with you than to listen to Allen’s2 Temperance sermon. Thank you dear Charles for complying with my fancy.3 To see you in earnest on the subject will be my greatest comfort & that I am sure you are. I believe I agree with every word you say, & it pleased me that you shd have felt inclined to enter a little more on the subject. How can you say you old curmudgeon that you don’t know whether I shall care to hear such trifles as your last letter. I felt very deeply for your sufferings at Birmingham though not quite intensely enough to prevent my laughing a little, but you must have had a horrid journey. Do you think I do not ask myself many times a day “What is he doing now? I wonder whether he will call today upon &c &c. There is nothing too small for you to tell me, for I want to know every thing. Having delivered this scolding I will proceed. What an honour for the great Sedgwick to invite me to his house. Me only think of it! I feel a greater person already for it & how my head will stand it when I am really Mrs D. (It does look & sound very odd though I think the two names suit each other) I can’t tell.

The kettles & saucepans have been weighing a little upon my soul too though I think a frying pan & tea kettle wd be enough at first & any thing you buy in that line or any other will be so much gained & I know I shall be satisfied. Elizabeth & Caroline are grown suburban again & it is very puzzling (Here you remark tiresome toad why can’t she tell me which she really would prefer instead of going on this way) The truth is I cannot at present make myself care much about the 2 sides of the question & so if any fresh reasons arise in your mind to make you more decided one way or the other besure you tell me. I think nothing could be nicer than the South side of the Regents Park & quite near enough to Cov. Garden if it is not too dear. Tavistock Square sounds grand. I have no doubt I shall bring my mind down to care properly for these sublunary matters in a short time. On Thursday Eliz. & I went to Betley & found that our visit was remarkably well timed as they were all rather flat. Poor Carolines4 marriage is put off till June or later & after it was settled so much earlier it makes her feel very flat. I don’t quite know all the reasons but it appears some fathers are not so generous as other peoples fathers or I am sure it would be managed somehow. The upshot is that he must be ordained & get a curacy before they can be married. I was quite sorry to think of the contrast between the smoothness & happiness of my affair & hers but she & her sisters entered just as warmly into my prosperity as if they had no frets of their own. They were very much pleased at my saying that you had promised to like them very much.

Monday. On Friday Caroline & Jos came, she looking so well that I fully expect that she would perform the journey quite well & it is a pleasure to think of her as being safe at Shrewsbury. She was very charming & affectionate to me. I am in very good heart about her she looks so well & in such good spirits. I hope Robert does not really mean to prosecute & that his speech about Lord Palmerstone meant nothing. We are anxious to hear something more about him. Suppose you take a look at some houses in the back lanes about the Regents Park: Hensleigh thinks they are nice ones. What do you think of Bayswater & Kensington gardenways. You have a great deal on your hands poor old gentleman but you should have thought of that before. I have been looking at a cook but she does not like going so far. I shall have plenty of applications I don’t doubt. I don’t expect you to answer my letters as quickly as I answer yours. I have nothing else to do you know but waste my tediousness upon you, so don’t think of writing when you are busy or tired & if a letter does not arrive when I am rather expecting one I shall read an old one over again instead. When you see Miss Martineau thank her for her little books which I have read & liked much & they will be very useful to me.

The Tollets were shocked to find I had not read Mr Lyells last book in which you are a great person & I really think I will try. Caroline Tollet says in her situation she finds she can read nothing but sermons & Nicholas Nickleby. I have unfortunately read Nicholas & don’t find I have much capacity for sermons so I am in a bad way. The Hensleighs will go to town the end of next week I believe.

Good bye my dear Charley your affectionate E W.


CD’s letter written in response to Emma’s of [21–2 November 1838] is missing.
John Allen Wedgwood, Emma’s cousin, vicar of Maer since 1825. See Emma Darwin (1915) 1: 180.
A reference to her request that CD read Jesus’ discourse to his disciples.
Caroline Tollet.


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Responds to items in CD’s letter, just received. Suggests parts of London where he might look for a house. Gives news of friends and relatives.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
27 NO 27 1838
Source of text
DAR 204: 151
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 444,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

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