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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Caroline Darwin   [31?] October [1831]1

4 Clarence Baths, | Devonport.

October 21st.—

My dear Caroline,

I received your letter the same day that I wrote to Susan— Since which I have had one from Katty, for which give her my thanks & love.— I want most particularly & directly to know about the Tutor’s bill.— Was there somewhere about 30£. allowed for my furniture? In fact there could not have been, and it is too bad of Mr. Ash,2 for I wrote on that subject solely to beg of him to subtract it from the bill, before sending it.— I can manage it through Henslow.— My Father must have thought me a regular swindler, as I said to him it would be about 8. or 16£.—

Everything goes on in such a regular manner, that I have nothing to write about.— I think Erasmus will come & see me start, so he will describe in how small a compass it is possible to pack a man.— Our ship will be, I fear, a regular raree show.—3 And the poop cabin being a gay one it will be very troublesome for me.—

I shall begin very soon to stow away my things; but I do not suppose I shall sleep on board till about a week before starting.— It is very lucky for me that I think I shall like my fellow companion in the cabin the best of any of the officers.— Cap. Fitz. has given him a room in the house; so that we live together.— The advantage of living with the Captain is most decided, his quiet manners are quite delightful after the riot of the gun room.— The only drawback now, is the great deficiency of room to pack up things in.— I live in continual fear.— My room are 15s. a week, and I am now living as if we were on Ship board—viz 50£ per annum.— I shall pay (if my Father likes it) the Cap. 100£ for the 2 next years— For if his pocket is fathomable he must have found the bottom— From what I pick up I do not believe we shall sail till end of next month— nothing however can exceed the activity of the officers.—

Love to Susan and tell her I will not take Persuasion, as the Captain says he will not read it, & there is no danger of my forgetting it. More letters the better. Love to all: hurra, for the Valparaiso Volcanoes. | Yours affec— | C. Darwin.


The copyist has ‘October 21st’, but CD did not arrive at Devonport until Monday, the 24th (‘Beagle’ diary, p. 5).
Edward John Ash, Tutor and Steward of Christ’s College.
‘A show contained or carried about in a box; a peep-show.’ ‘This word [raree-show] is formed in imitation of the foreign way of pronouncing rare show (Johnson)’ (OED).


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.

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.


Questions about his college bills.

Describes the living conditions he will have on the Beagle.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 154: 31
Physical description
C 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 145,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1