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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [9 May 1842]

[12 Upper Gower Street]

Monday Morning

My dear Emma.

I am anxious for the post today to hear how you are & how the chicks are.— Yesterday felt quite a blank from not hearing— I hope your teeth have not been plaguing you & poor dear old Doddums temper I hope to hear is better.—

On Saturday I went in City & did a deal of Printing business— I came back gloomy & tired— the government money has gone much quicker than I thought & the expences of the coral-volume are greater being, as far as we can judge from 130£ to 140£.— How I am publish the remainder I know not, without taking 2 or 300£ out of the funds—& what will you say to that.— I am stomachy & be blue deviled— I am daily growing very very old, very very cold & I daresay very sly.—1 I will give you statistics of time spent on my coral-volume, not including all the work on board the Beagle— I commenced it 3 years & 7 months ago, & have done scarcely anything besides— I have actually spent 20 months out of this period on it! & nearly all the remainder sickness & visiting!!!

Catty stops till Saturday; notwithstanding all my boasting of not caring for solitude, I believe I should have been dreary without her.— She went to Foundling Church to hear Bishop Thirlwall preach,2 wh. lasted till 12 past two! owing to music & the immortal Fanny stood it all notwithstanding extreme crowd & closeness— Cath. liked sermon & Fanny did not, & I feel sure they differed more than they naturally would have done, to spite each other for their difference over Mr. Scot.—3 C. drank tea in evening there & had very pleasant evening—

I am very glad you have not missed seeing the Langtons. when do they go? I hope I shall see them & the little Doddy Secundus.—4

Ask Brodie where is Key of G. Square?5

The colourist has invented a clever plan to save me looking over the maps.— he counts the circles of each separate colour6 & so necessarily detects every error.—

Yesterday I went at 2 oclock & an hour’s hard talk with Horner on affairs of Geolog Soc & it quite knocked me up & this makes my letter rather blue in its early part.—

After long watching the Postman your letter has at last arrived. you cannot tell how much I enjoy hearing about you all.— How strange poor old Doddy seems to be— I grieve he does not get better; I agree with you it wd be very good to try calomel.— How astonishing your walking round Birth Hill, I believe now the country will do you good— What a nice account you give of Charlottes tranquil maternity— I wish the Baby was livlier,—for liveliness is an extreme charm in bab-chicks—

good bye.— I long to kiss Annie’s botty-wotty | C.D.—


An allusion to one of Harry Wedgwood’s verses—an ‘epitaph’ on Susan Darwin (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 70 n.): Here the bones of Susan lie, She was old and cold and sly.
The Reverend Alexander John Scott, a highly independent and successful preacher to whom Fanny Wedgwood was devoted. See Emma Darwin (1915) 1: 234 n.; Arbuckle 1983, p. 13 n. 18.
The Darwin children’s nurse, Jessie Brodie, took the children for outings to nearby Gordon Square, where the garden was enclosed and residents required a gate key to enter the gardens.
Four colours were used for the maps in Coral reefs representing three types of reefs and active volcanoes (see letter to C. Lyell, 6 [July 1841]).


Arbuckle, Elisabeth Sanders, ed. 1983. Harriet Martineau’s letters to Fanny Wedgwood. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Is "stomachy and be-blue-devilled" because of costs of publishing [Zoology and Coral reefs]. Wonders how the remainder [of the Zoology and Geology of "Beagle"] can be published without taking £200 or £300 out of their personal funds.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 20
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 626,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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