skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [29 December 1838]



My dear Charles

I could hardly believe the good news when I opened your letter as I had but little hopes that Mrs Irving1 would come to her senses. Now we have no more cares upon our souls & I think of Macaw Cottage with the greatest satisfaction. After all our grumbling we have got the house we particularly wished to have next to Tavistock, for I like it better than Gordon Sq. Fanny will be rather unhappy now at having abused the furniture, but I can’t tell you how little I care about the furniture. I don’t think it will do to wait for this maid coming up from Cambridgeshire. I shall be quite satisfied if you have taken Margaret or whatever you have done about it. I dined yesterday at the Wicksteds2 & met Ellen & Penelope Tollet Miss Vaughan & Miss Wigley. There were no gentlemen which sometimes makes a party very comfortable & easy contrary to Mrs Rich’s opinion. Miss W. is a great admirer of Miss Martineau & is going to buy the West. Review to see her article. I have accomplished reading it with great pleasure & some of it is very eloquent. I should so like to scratch out some little Harrietisms that spoil such a subject so much, making such a fuss about Mrs Chapman’s beauty & Angelina’s sweet voice, for instance. Lovejoys speech & letter I liked the best.3

Caroline’s marriage is no nearer than it was. I have not written to Shrewsbury so I hope you have to tell them we are settled. I think we will call some day at Tavistock Sq & enquire whether the poor old gentleman has had his way & is living with his beautiful paper. I am afraid Uncle Baugh seriously intends coming to our marriage & if so we must invite him, he will signify more to the others than to us though & I am afraid Papa & Eliz will be a good deal fatigued at him. He will think it incumbent upon him to be in a great state of liveliness at a wedding. I owe you 6d& in so mean a way that I really think I shall pay you. I was too mean to give the bonnet boy 1s/ & chose rather to give your 6d. I also owe you for the West. Review but I don’t know whether I shall pay you that. I hope you have called to tell the Lyells that you are out of your troubles. I have been making Papa write a pretty bit of friendship to Sismondi who in his letter to me was rather pathetic at never hearing from him. Nobody can do it better than Papa though it is a very difficult thing to do. I am afraid his shaking teazes him rather more & he takes it with such patient sweetness when he finds he must give up doing some little thing that he used to be able to do. He is quite well except that. Elizabeth comes home today from a two days visit at Knutsford which I expect to find she has rather liked. It will be very pleasant telling her that we have got our house. I hope my poor old Charley that now your bothers are over you are pretty comfortable & not so done up & can mind your books. I should like to have waited for your letter today, but I was impatient to rejoice with you over dear Maccaw Cottage I hope they have discarded that dead dog out of the garden. Miss Wigley tells me Laburnums will grow any where. We will plant some as they will shelter us from our neighbours as well as any thing. Mr Wicksted looks so ragged & old that he looks like a gentleman that has gambled away all his fortune which is a most unjust look for him certainly as he has married an heiress & inherits 2 fortunes besides.

My temper has been very good since I wrote.

Goodbye my dear Charles your affectionate Em W.

Jos came over on Thursday. His account of the baby is not quite so good as Catherines. We could not make out whether he admired it or not. I hope he pretends to do so at any rate. Caroline is very well & comes out of her room.

CD annotations

On cover: ‘Margaret | Cooks | distances from Park, compared with Chester Square | Linen | Visits to M & S.4 | Respirator— | House better than Gordon Square & better than Tavistock.—’ ink


Possibly Mrs Irvine, wife of Colonel Irvine mentioned in the letter to Emma Wedgwood, [29 December 1838].
Charles Wicksted, son of George Tollet, changed his name on inheriting an estate in Worcestershire (Burke’s Landed Gentry 1879).
Martineau 1838–9. Maria Weston Chapman, Angelina Grimké, and Elijah Parish Lovejoy were all active supporters of the anti-slavery movement in America.
Maer and Shrewsbury.


Martineau, Harriet. 1838–9. The martyr age of the United States. London and Westminster Review 32: 1–59.


Is delighted to learn they have "Macaw Cottage" [12 Upper Gower Street] – their second choice; hopes they have disposed of the dead dog in the garden. Much family news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 156
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 464,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

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