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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Wedgwood   [31 December 1838 –] 1 January 1839

!!12 Upper Gower Stt!!

Monday January 1st. 18391 | And the first of Our Marriage

My dear Emma

Many thanks for your two most kind, dear, & affectionate letters, which I received this morning.— I will finish this letter tomorrow. I sit down just to date & begin it, that I may enjoy the infinite satisfaction of writing to my own dear wife, that is to be, the very first evening of my entering our house. After writing to you on Saturday evening, I thought much of the happy future & in consequence did not close my eyes till long past two oclock, awoke at five & could not go to sleep.— got up, & set to work with the good resolution of spending a quiet day.— about eleven oclock found that would never do, so rang for Covington & said “I am very sorry to spoil your Sunday, but begin packing up I must, as I cannot rest”:— “Pack up, Sir, what for?” said Mr Covington with his eyes open with astonishment, as it was the first notice he had received of my flitting. So we arranged some ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠2 the specimens of Natural History, but did no real packing up.— I, however, sorted a multitude of papers.—

This morning however, we began early & in earnest, & I may be allowed to boast, when I say that by half past three we had two large vans full of goods, well & carefully packed.— by six oclock we had them all safe here.— There is nothing left but some few dozen drawers of shells, which must be carried by Hand.— I was astounded, & so was Erasmus at the bulk of my luggage & the Porters were even more so at the weight of those containing my Geological Specimens.— The dining room, hall, & my own room are crammed & piled with goods— One servants room up stairs, & my own charming room below will hold all most admirably.— There never was so good a house for me, & I devoutly trust you will approve of it equally.— the little garden is worth its weight in gold.— About eight oclock, the old lady here, cooked me some eggs & bacon, (as I had no dinner), & with some tea, I felt supremely comfortable; How I wish my own dear lady had been here.— My room is so quiet, that the contrast to Marlborough is as remarkable, as it is delightful.— It is now near nine, & I will write no more, as I am thoroughily tired in the legs,—but wish you a good night, my own good dear Emma.— C. D.—

Tuesday morning— Once ⁠⟨⁠mo⁠⟩⁠re I must thank you for your letters, which I have just read. — — I have been busy at work all morning, & have made my own room quite charming so comfortable.— the only difficulty is, that I have not things enough!! to put in all the drawers & corners. Erasmus has just been here, & has properly admired & declares that the house in many respects is even better than Tavistock Square.— He has me to dine with him to day at 12 past four to meet the Hensleighs & Carlyles, which I shall ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ do, as I am anxious to see Fanny to have some Maid-servant talk. After due deliberation, & having received your letters on Monday I write to Margaret.—to take her With respect to the sheets you had better send them direct here 12. Upper Gower ⁠⟨⁠S⁠⟩⁠t.— send them by water for there is no such great hurry for them, as I find I have enough old ones from Cambridge for Covington & Margaret for one week, & I have borrowed a pair from Erasmus for myself.— This vile paper, which was the only sort I could yesterday get out, puts my fingers on an edge, it is so rough.—

I can neither write nor think about anything, but the house. I am in such spirits at our good fortune. Erasmus & Coy used to be always talking of the immense advantage of Chester Square being so near the Park.— would you believe it, I find by the Compasses, we are as near, within a hundred yards of Regents Park, as Chester Square is of Green Park!! I quite agree with you, that this house is far pleasanter than Gordon Square. In two more days, I shall be quite settled & this change from mental & bodily work, will I do not doubt rest me, so that I trust to be able to finish my Glen Roy Paper & enjoy my Country Holiday, with a clear conscience.—

I will not write anymore at present, but will write very ⁠⟨⁠soon⁠⟩⁠ again.— I want just to scribble one line home, & then go & get the Respirator for Uncle Jos

Most affectionly Yours | Chas Darwin

P.S. I have heard of a Cook, who promises well through Erasmus’s maid Sarah, I mean to get Fanny, as your representative, to see her.—


1 January 1839 was a Tuesday. As the letter makes clear, CD began it on the evening of Monday, 31 December.
Two excisions were made in this letter by Emma Wedgwood, see letter from Emma Wedgwood, [3 January 1839], and letter to Emma Wedgwood, [6–7 January 1839]. The four sets of ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ in the transcription indicate alternately the recto and verso of the excisions.


Has moved into the Gower Street house. Is pleased with it and its location.

Hopes to be able to finish his Glen Roy paper soon.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 9
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 466,” accessed on 18 May 2024,

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