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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [25 June 1846]1


Thursday afternoon

My dear wife

Today has been stormy & gloomy, but rather pleasant in the intervals, only I have been stomachy & sick again, but not very uncomfortable; I will take blue-pill again. A proof has come from the Printers & saying the Compositor is in want of M.S. which he cannot have & I am tired & overdone2 I am ungracious old dog to howl, for I have been sitting in summer-house, whilst watching the thunder-storms, & thinking what a fortunate man I am, so well off in worldly circumstances, with such dear little children, & such a Trotty,3 & far more than all with such a wife. Often have I thought over Elizabeths words, when I married you, that she had never heard a word pass your lips, which she had rather not have been uttered, and sure am I that I can now say so & shall say so on my death-bed,—bless you my dear wife.—4

Your very long letter of Monday has delighted me, with all the particulars about the children—how happy they seem: I will forward it to Caroline, though twice it has “my dearest N.”.—5 Trotty is quite charming, though I am vexed how little I am able to stand her: somehow I have been extra bothered & busy; this morning I sent off five letters.—

Lady L.6 has asked me to meet on Saturday the old Griffin & the Browns, & I have accepted it doubtfully, though I do not think I shall have the heart to go.—

Remember I go to London on Monday— You do not say how Jane is.—

Trotty has just said “that rascal has not gone into Garden”—so I asked whom do you mean? “Georgy, cause he ps. so”

Your affect. | C. D.


A notation on the letter in Emma’s hand reads ‘June 1846 when I was at Tenby’. CD’s reference to a London trip can only mean that of 29 June recorded in his Account Book (Down House MS) on 1 July.
The early parts of South America were being set up at this time.
Henrietta Emma Darwin. The nickname ‘Trotty’ was taken from the nickname for Toby Veck in Charles DickensThe chimes (London, 1845 [1844]).
A sentiment repeated in Autobiography, p. 96.
CD referred to himself as Emma’s ‘Nigger’. The letter was presumably sent on to Caroline Wedgwood, CD’s sister, who had married Emma’s brother Josiah.


Autobiography: The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. With original omissions restored. Edited with appendix and notes by Nora Barlow. London: Collins. 1958.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third 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. 1846.


CD has been stomachy and sick, but not very uncomfortable.

Working on proofs [of South America] and cannot keep printer supplied with manuscript.

His thoughts of her, and news of the children who are at Down with him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 25
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 981,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

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