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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [8 March 1842]1



My dear Emma.

I arrived last night about 8 oclock:— I was somewhat wearied & my headache began just before we got to Shrewsbury.— I went at once to bed, & was surprised to have a fit of vomiting & shivering & Susan came & nursed me & I slept capitally & am this morning very well & brisk & the day is bright & beautiful.

My companions as far as Bermingham were men after my own heart: They did not speak one word— I mean literally, I could swear in court of justice that no one, except I, spoke one word or sentence & my own sentence was “here we are at Bermingham”.

Caroline is down stairs, looks pale, but appears well & very good spirits. Baby quite well which has not been the case to Car. inexpressible fear & grief.— She is much pleased with pellisse.— She sends her love to you & with a broad chuckle keeps on saying ‘poor Emma’— My poor dearest old soul, are you very bad & familiar — I hope not my poor old soul: at this distance they are so brutal they all chuckle & cry “oh oh poor Miss Emma.”— They are all talking & laughing so much I can hardly write.

—I resume my letter but I am rather too tired to write much.— I have been telling all about Doddy & Annie & they like hearing everything—. Catherine gives me up altogether as a moral-teacher, after I have told her of my pitting Doddy to show fight to Johnny2 & after my trying whether Doddy or J should have the last blow— Katty declares she shall always say I was once a good Father.— They think I probably misuse you very much, otherwise you could never be quiet whilst I teach my son such pranks—poor dear old Titty is a misused old soul, poor old Titty so very sick & squashy this very minute.—

My Father & the girls are looking very well— They enjoy all the gossip I can tell them about everybody— Catherine declares till quite lately they had no notion old Marsh was alive—, thought he had been executed long since—3

I think I shall be pretty well. I enjoy the looks of cleanliness & freshness of everything & I wish you were here to enjoy them.— The crocuses are looking quite brilliant— Tell me all about the chickens, if you are well enough to scribble a bit: Give my best love to Elizabeth & tell her I expect to see her when I return: she must not leave you a desolate widow.—

Goodbye my dearest. C. D.—

I was quite right in saying your scratched out passage would give them plenty of work.— Catherine after having drawn a chair to the window, cried out (as Susan says) here is my work for the morning.— She first ascertained which were false tails & which real: She then found that many false H.s had been introduced, which made her suspect some word beginning with H. was important, & then on the principle of transparency she deciphered “corn-law rhyme”, & so guessed the whole.— Marianne wrote by return of post in a transport of curiosity to know what it meant.— No doubt she well knew, that the perseverance of Shrewsbury was not to be baffled.— C. D.


See ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix II), 1842: ‘March 7th Went to Shrewsbury for 10 days.’
Arthur Cuthbert Marsh, husband of Anne Marsh, died in 1849.


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


Family news from Shrewsbury.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 18
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 622,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

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