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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Susan Darwin   2 December 1843


Saturday. Decr 2d. 1843—

My dear Susan.

I am quite ashamed of myself that I should never have written to thank you for all yr. magnificence— All I can say is that I never come into the room without admiring your furniture— As for the breakfast service, really my dear Chucky, you must be a little mad and poor Marianne will vote, for the sake of her poor babbies, that you be shut up & your property divided.— I suppose among the enumerable presents, a new purse, which came with the baskets, is meant for me. I will now report on furniture, etc etc & let others laugh if they please. Imprimo your baskets are highly approved of and have begun work; the red one is very handsome. (N.B. I paid Eras. the 8s.) Your manes have not been disturbed yet by the great arm chair being brought down, but when covered with the new Chintz it will be, & your spirit will be disturbed. The chintz (thanks to your taste & a very little bit, I am pleased to think, to my own) is quite the prettiest we ever had—indeed I never saw a prettier one & we are going to send for another piece to make extra covers for arm chairs— The ottoman looks so gay & smart. The door being changed is a great practical improvement, especially in going out of the room, as one is not forced to open the door so wide— Out of doors we have levelled the broad walk & put a step which is a great improvement; only my heart bled at the number of Mulberry roots which we cut through— We have done all own planting—and are making the side of house tidy & are resetting the lawn, & have made the paths by Cow-yard tidier & dryer— Inhuman as you are all at Shrewsbury it is quite dreadful how the money goes, & I must get my Father to put all money due to me into Bank on very first of January, else there will be a Bankruptcy. The only great question which troubles our souls now is about the Bookcase, which is very inconvenient in the present piano-forte corner; I have thought of a scheme, since modified by Emma, of joining the chiffonier, (one being cut in two) & putting rosewood shelves above.— I send a drawing, which you must return, though perhaps you will be so bold as not to think it a work of art worth postage.— What think you? the alternative is having a book-shelve over each chiffonier separately, & we shall so continue it in both cases so as not to lose the [ shelve] at the top— I went by the Coach on Wednesday, for our horse, though apparently well, I do not mean to use for a week more—

I had Mr. Ward of Boston1 for a co-voyageur, he is an old & very pleasant person & very civil especially after I told him who I was and thanked him for—

He gave Miss Traill a very2

He said old Sir John3 was a very kind man to those who knew him, but a most keen, harsh man of business— Emma went to Bromley with Snow’s horse yesterday & was not much tired; she found the shops very bad.—4 Emma has started two little combs in Annie’s hair & it makes her look quite a beauty.— Both babies are very full of their approaching lessons— The little Baby keeps as good as gold, except that she has most days an uncomfortable fit about five o’clock in the Evening, when she is very difficult to appease— Eras was in pretty good form— He had been calling at the Huttons. I met old Sir Griffin in the Street & he immediately began quoting the Botanic Garden—5


Probably an erroneous transcription of ‘Baston’, part of the neighbouring village of Hayes, where Samuel Nevile Ward lived; however, it may be a misreading of ‘Keston’, another nearby village, where John Ward, who was S. N. Ward’s brother, lived.
The copyist has noted: ‘about a quarter of the second page of this letter was cut off—’.
Sir John William Lubbock Sr.
George Snow’s wagon carried parcels and mail between London and Down.
The poetic work by CD’s grandfather, Erasmus Darwin.


Thanks SD for some furniture. Describes arrangement of furnishing at Down and work carried out on the grounds. Children are "very full of their approaching lessons".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 154: 87
Physical description
C 4pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 719,” accessed on 16 May 2022,

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