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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [23 January 1839]



My dear Charles

Such a very nice letter must have an answer directly it made me so happy. I declare I am very sorry I shall have no more from you, but perhaps you will write a line from Shrewsbury to say how you are coming. & whether any wheelbarrows will be wanted. I hope you will make the most of your freedom & recollect that you will never be “your own man” again. You need not fear my own dear Charles that I shall not be quite as happy as you are & I shall always look upon the event of the 29th as a most happy one on my part though perhaps not so great or so good as you do. There is only one subject in the world that ever gives me a moments uneasiness & I believe I think about that very little when I am with you & I do hope that though our opinions may not agree upon all points of religion we may sympathize a good deal in our feelings on the subject. I believe my chief danger will be that I shall lead so happy comfortable & amusing a life that I shall be careless & good for nothing & think of nothing serious in this world or the next. However I won’t be solemn either.

I don’t find the steam much up for Warwick Castle it is too cold for the beauties of nature or art either & so we may as well go strait home on Tuesday I think. Papa has taken the places.

We expect Caroline & Jos today. She seems very anxious still about the little baby & says she was quite shocked on comparing it with another of the same age to see what a poor puny little delicate thing it is. It has been unwell again. That lazy Charlotte has not written again all this time but we are not quite without hopes of their coming today as they rather expected them at Shrewsbury yesterday. We had a very merry visit from the Northens & Ellen kept us laughing all the time almost. She has a great deal of natural wit about her & if she would genteelify herself a little would be remarkably agreeable & as she can mimic all sorts of manners she could take up an elegant one just as well as not. I shewed them all the finery I could muster which was very little & it was duly admired & appreciated. Yesterday we enjoyed the quiet & silence after all the talking & laughing. There were anxious wishes to see Mr Charles Darwin which I am afraid he does not participate in. It sounds quite horrible your thinking it was a machine to “catch hold” of flounders & soles you evidently expect them to come alive to table. I believe from your account of your own mind that you will only consider me as a specimen of the genus (I don’t know what simia I believe). You will be forming theories about me & if I am cross or out of temper you will only consider “What does that prove”. Which will be a very grand & philosophical way of considering it. I am very glad the sandwiches were so useful. How shamefully you behaved to poor Mother in law. Eliz. & I are going to walk to Camp Hill this fine frosty morning.

Ellen Northen told me of some engaged letters to Mr Turton which he was innocent enough to shew her which were crossed entirely all over which made me feel very small. He did not choose his confidant well. I read your crossing very well but you really should try to spell better.

Goodbye my dearest your affectionate | Emma Wedgwood.

I don’t care a pin whether you write from Shrewsbury or not—not I. I suppose you will come on Monday any how, don’t think yourself of such great consequence.


Responds warmly to his very nice letter. CD need have no fear that she will not be as happy as he.

Again expresses uneasiness that their opinions on religion do not agree on all points. Hopes they will sympathise in their feelings on the subject.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 162
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 492,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

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