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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [23 December 1838]



My dear Charles

We had a very prosperous journey & I found Harry’s rug the greatest comfort. We got some biscuits when we were very ravenous. There was a young gentleman about 18 sitting in the corner who had a bottle of brandy in his pocket with which he consoled himself very often besides having a ring on & a smart chain taking snuff & smelling of cigars, so I thought to my self what an unpleasant boy that must be, but when he spoke he had the meekest civilest manner in the world & called Harry Sir at every word. There was a great bustle at Birmingham & we had half an hour to spare which we bestowed in a grand refreshment room lit up with gas where there was a very good dinner going on which came in very acceptably. We found the trio at home quite well & his reverence1 sitting with them as it was Saturday. We opened our budget of news which lasted a long time & at night Eliz. & I had a long goose by our fire. I feel quite cockneyfied already & think Maer looks wonderfully fresh & quiet though it is as ugly a day as you ever saw. They have not heard from Shrewsbury since we have so that is pretty good news. Jessie is poorly & not able to come over today so Harry is gone home. The ball knocked her up. She & Ellen Tollet went together & it was a very brilliant one, but I feel superior to these vanities & can reflect on having missed it without a pang. Such is the power of true &c &c— Elizabeth has not heard of any maid so you had better engage the little woman. She does not think it usual to engage maids before you want them, but perhaps it would be as well to engage her from Christmas only I don’t think you need begin paying her board wages now as she is living at her own home. Ten guineas a year & tea & sugar was what I settled with her.

Having now got rid of me I suppose you will give up your intemperate habits & take to your books again. I advise you not to be in a hurry about houses but see what turns up quietly. I quite give my consent to the 110£ house in Woburn Place if nothing better appears. I think it would do quite well only it is not fascinating & if there is no truth in the fault the woman of the house found with it. I must go into the school2

so Goodbye my dear old Charley Tell me how you are. I do not like your looking so unwell & being so overtired when I come & look after you I shall scold you into health like Lady Cath. de Burgh3 used to do to the poor people.

Goodbye & write soon | Your affectionately | Emma W.


Probably John Allen (Allen) Wedgwood, Vicar of Maer.
Emma taught a Sunday class for the children of Maer.
A character in Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice.


Describes the journey home and the long talks on their return. No maid has been found, so he should engage the one she saw, "for ten guineas & tea & sugar a year". She thought CD looked unwell and overtired.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 154
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 460,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

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