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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [7 January 1839]



My dear Charles

Thank you very much for your letter which I received on Friday. I don’t quite believe the fact of your having walked a whole half hour in the garden. How many turns does it take? I sent off some servants linen on Saturday, by the canal. I am very glad you like your own room so much, the quietness of it must be the greatest comfort. I have not at all left off rejoicing in our getting such a nice house that hit our fancy so particularly. I dont fancy Jenny would ever suit you, but I think the way to enjoy her company would be to see her without Mr Carlyle as she must have her full swing in talking. Last night we had such a storm here that it blew in a pane of our window & Eliz. & I found it very windy work trying to shut the shutters which never having been shut before would not fasten & then inventing some bobstays & gammonings1 to fasten them with the help of tables & chairs &c. Today the pool is quite grand with clouds of spray blowing over it like drifting snow. Harry came over yesterday intending like a man of honour to go back & help to entertain Mrs Robert, but very well pleased to be prevented by the bad weather. She takes to the children who do instead of conversation, as she has nothing to say never works & never reads though she holds a book in her hand. Harry says he thinks Robert is really very comfortable which rather makes one despise him.2 I am very glad you have fixed your day for coming down & I guess we shall see you here on the Monday after. The Langtons will be here then & Charlotte wished very much to see you. You will have a few days more time on your hands than you expect my dear Charley as the marriage must be fixed for the 29th instead of the 24th (I always said about the 24th) I am afraid you will be rather vexed at this but I hope you will have the Drs maxim that I must always be in the right properly impressed on your mind. I do dislike very much doing what you don’t like my dear old Charley & I do hope this is the last time I ever shall, & I wish very much that it could have been arranged otherwise. You say nothing about cooks in your last letter which is being very grand & I must say looks as if you meant to give in a good deal, to Mr Lyells plan of the Athenæum. If you follow Mr Henslows advice about walking & Mr Lyells precepts about dining I shall see quite as little of you as even Mrs Williams would think proper.3 These excellent steady old friends of yours have a good deal to answer for in corrupting your mind.

Allen came in rather agitated yesterday his puppy dog having been running after some sheep & he made himself quite unwell with shouting after him & beating him (not very severely I believe). He was also rather sarcastic upon his window for getting broken. I am rather spiteful but I have no more important events to tell you of. Elizabeths cough is much better. I shall be very glad to see you & I hope you will be looking much better than when I saw you last. I wish it may be fine weather.

Goodbye my own dear old soul. Your affectionate Em W.

The Respirator came quite safe.


Bobstay: ‘A rope used to confine the bowsprit of a ship downward to the stem’; gammoning: ‘The lashing of ropes by which the bowsprit is made fast to the stem or cutwater’ (OED).
Robert Wedgwood’s marriage to Frances Crewe, who was much older than he, was considered an unfortunate one by the Wedgwood family (see Correspondence vol. 1, letters from Catherine Darwin, 28 January [1835] and Susan Darwin, 16 February 1835).
Sarah Williams.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Still rejoices in having found the house they like.

Thinks he might enjoy Jenny [Jane Welsh] Carlyle’s company more away from Carlyle "as she must have her full swing in talking".

Says the wedding must be fixed for the 29th instead of the 24th.

Hopes he will look better than on his last visit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 159
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 485,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

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