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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [13 March 1842]



My dear Emma.—

I must go on complimenting you on your letters.— it makes me quite proud, reading them (with Skippibus) to my Father & Co.— I am very glad you do not seem nearly so bad, as you used to be.— I know well you are rather a naughty girl, & do not pipe enough about your good old self—. The other day my Father & all of us united in chorus, after Caroline had left the room, how much pleasanter the piping strain was than the Heroic— remember that, though I wish I could remember it less.— I have begun my letter rather late, as I & Caroline have been compromising our educational differences, which are much less, than I anticipated.—

I will give a short journal: on Friday I walked beyond Shelton Rough, towards Ross Hall;—an immense walk for me.— The day was very boisterous, with great black clouds & gleams of light, & I felt a sensation of delight, which I hardly expected ever to experience again.— There certainly is great pleasure in the country even in Winter.— This walk was rather too much for me & I was dull till whist, which I enjoy beyond measure— We sit up talking till 12 past 10.— On Saturday, walked as usual an hour or so on Terrace & then called on old Mrs. Haycock1 —a perfect picture of a venerable lady—& on Mr. E. Haycock & came home by Kingsland & ate an enormous apopleptic dinner.— To day I have, as yet, only paced the Terrace.— Carolines morbid sensitiveness about the Baby is quite fearful: she thinks every cry of the utmost importance & I believe, by night, never allows the monthly nurse to change the baby’s napkins, even when in bed with the monthly nurse.— (N.B. The arms of the arm-chair prevent my writing very well.—)

I think I have picked up some notions, by our education-fights.— Caroline is enthusiastic about M. Guizot,2 & says she agrees in all her directions, curiously the same with Marianne.—

I have just reread yesterday letter: your account of your œconomy in fires & puddings amused us much.— A nice item the new taxes will be, I calculate about 30£ per annum,: I have half read through Sir R. Peel’s great speech; it strikes me as very good, & it is very interesting.3

I was talking with Nancy4 about Hannah Jones before yo⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ stupidity came, & I ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ her cronies, had formed the same opinion of her, as I think you had, viz, that she was free & easy & Nancy added very fond of ‘beau’s—no doubt in her eyes a very great fault in a woman under 50 years old.—

I shall not try to make up my mind about the day of my return, till I hear from you on Tuesday; & please be very open.— I shall not in any case, think of stopping later than Thursday.—

I am sure I have sent you a dull enough letter to day, so good bye my pattern wife.— | C. D.

Caroline heard from Jos on Saturday, (the first letter since Monday!!!), & she was much disappointed at not seeing him.— I miss a ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠. My father, is I believe, really anxious to ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠dy cares about.

P.S. One of your letters came with wafer open: do not tempt the girls here so much.


Elizabeth Haycock. Her son Edward was Shropshire County Surveyor and the leading architect of the region (Hobbs 1960).
Élizabeth Guizot, Madame François Guizot, French author of works on the education of children.
The ‘great speech’ was his budget speech of 11 March 1842. The income tax was originally proposed by Sir Robert Peel as a temporary measure to replace revenues lost by his free-trade reforms.
CD’s childhood nurse.


Hobbs, John L. 1960. The Haycocks changed the face of Shrewsbury. The Shropshire Magazine (February 1960): 17–18.


News of family and of his stay at Shrewsbury.

Calculates the newly instituted income tax will mean £30 per annum.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 19
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 623,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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