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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [3 July 1841]


My dear Titty

It seems natural to write you a scrap, though I have not to thank you for one.—rather Severe, I guess I was very well yesterday & today am looking so well, that my Father owned, he should not have known if I had been a new face, there was anything the matter with me— Doddy is looking very strong & almost ruddy to day, but my Father says his motions are far from right. He paid me a visit this morning in dressing room, whilst I was dressing & was very good & brushed his teeth with an old tooth brush of mine, as grave as a judge— I told him to go in Bed room & see if Mama was there & I suppose the sight of Red bed called up his memory, for he continued for so long crying out plaintively mama & looking inquisitively into my face— To day at breakfast there was much scrattle talk, as annual account was wound up, wh’ amounted to 1380£ 10£ less than last year. Is this not marvellous considering my Fathers personal expences—& presents & everything except his childrens allowances are included in this.—

A thunder storm is preparing to break on your head, & which has already deluged me,—about Bessy not having a cap,—“looks dirty”, “like grocers maid-servant” & my Father with much wrath added “the men will take liberties with her, if she is dressed differently from every other lady’s maid”!!! Both the girls echoed this— I generously took half the blame, & never betrayed that I had beseeched you several times on that score— If they open on you pray do not defend yourself, for they are very hot on subject. My Father has taken Parslows1 long greasy hair into hand, which I am well pleased at, & quizzed him before the other servant, whether he was training to turn into my Lord Judge with a long wig.—

Susan goes to Sea with Marianne on Friday, so you wont see much of her.— My Father seems to like having me here; & he & the girls are very merry all day long.— I have partly talked over the Doctor about my buying a house, without living in the neighbourhood half a dozen years first—

He says your complaint in the ears is very common & very troublesome.

You never saw how the girls doat on Doddy— they say he is the most charming of all the children. I fear he is a coward— a frog jumped near him & danced & screamed with horror at the dangerous monster, & I had a deal of kissing at his open bellowing mouth to comfort him— He threw my stick over Terrace wall, looked at it as it went & cried Tatta with th⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠grea⁠⟩⁠test sang-froid & walked away— ⁠⟨⁠The⁠⟩⁠ Dr. is going to try new medicine with him.— I suppose Susan in her letter told you horrid fright they had about the mad-dog— Poor old Doddy was safe in bed—but really all had a horridly near escape.—

Ever yours affect | dear Titty, | C. D.—

PS— Please get me out of little draw in upper drawer in chest of drawers in my dressing room my dog-whip. (& leave fish-line) —get it out at once, & then it wont be forgotten.—


Joseph Parslow, manservant at Gower Street, later butler at Down House (Freeman 1978; Atkins 1974, p. 72).


Atkins, Hedley J. B. 1974. Down, the home of the Darwins: the story of a house and the people who lived there. London: Royal College of Surgeons.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


The happy family life at Shrewsbury. CD is looking so well his father would not have known there was anything the matter with him. The year’s accounts come to £1380.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 17
Physical description
ALS 5pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 601,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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