skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [7–8 February 1845]1


Friday night

My dear Emma

I shall write my Babbiana tonight, instead of before breakfast. It is really wonderful how good & quiet the children have been; sitting quite still during two or three visits conversing about everything & much about you & your return— When I said I shall jump for joy, when I hear the dinner bell Willy said, “I know when you will jump much more—when Mamma comes home” & so shall I responded many times Annie. It is evident to me, that you must be the cause of all the children’s fidgets & naughtinesses.— Annie told me that Willie had never been quite round the world, but that he had been a long way, beyond Leave’s Green— The Baby has neglected me much today & would not play; she cd not eat any jam, because she had eat so much at tea; but not like Annie of old she did not care. She was rather fidgety, going in & out of the room & Brodie declares she was looking for you— I did not believe it, but when she was sitting on my knee afterward & was looking eagerly at pictures, I said “where is poor Mamma” she instantaneously pushed herself off, trotted straight to the door, & then to the green door,2 saying Kitch & Brodie let her through, when she trotted in, looked all round her & began to cry; but some coffee-grains quite comforted her— Was not this very pretty? Willy told me to tell you that he had been very good & had given Annie only one tiny knock, & I was to tell you that he had pricked his finger.—

My own annals are of the briefest, I paced half-a dozen times along Kitchen Garden in the horrid cold wind, & came in & read Monsters & co,3 till tired, had some visits from children, had very good dinner & very good negus4 —played with children till 6 oclock read again & now have nothing to do, but most heartily wish you back again.—

My dear old wife, take care of yourself & be a good girl. C. D.— Sat. Morn. All right—Willy said to me “poor Poor laying all by himself & no company in the drawing room.” Farewell to our Slip of Land5 Is not poor Eliza’s letter wonderful, pray beg Harry to give some kind message from us—6


Dated on the basis of the letter to Emma, [3–4 February 1845].
The door separating the kitchen quarters from the rest of the house.
I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1832–7. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL. He recorded that he finished reading this work in March 1845 (DAR 119; Vorzimmer 1977, p. 133).
‘A mixture of wine (esp. port or sherry) and hot water, sweetened with sugar and flavoured [with nutmeg]. Invented by Col. Francis Negus, British soldier (d. 1732).’ (OED).
CD had difficulties acquiring some strips of land over which access to Down House was gained and other small plots adjacent to his property. This note may refer to the land under discussion in Correspondence vol. 2, letter to Susan Darwin, [8 December 1843]. See also Correspondence vol. 4, letter to John Higgins, 10 September [1847].
Sarah Elizabeth (Eliza) Wedgwood was Emma’s cousin; her sister, Jessie, married Emma’s brother, Henry Allen (Harry) Wedgwood, in 1830.


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

Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Isidore. 1832–7. Histoire générale et particulière des anomalies de l’organisation chez l’homme et les animaux, ouvrage comprenant des recherches sur les charactères, la classification, l’influence physiologique et pathologique, les rapports généraux, les lois et les causes des monstruosites, des variétés et des vices de conformation, ou traité de tératologie. 3 vols. and atlas. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.

Vorzimmer, Peter J. 1977. The Darwin reading notebooks (1838-1860). Journal of the History of Biology 10: 107–53.


Mainly news of the three children.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 22
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 810,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3