From Caroline Darwin 1 September 1833
September 1st| 1833.
My dear Charles
We were exceedingly glad to receive your letter last week from Rio Negro dated 12 April and to hear you were well and happy I can easily think how impatient you must feel to be again in those delightful tropical climates of which I suppose one has very little idea from mere description. Do take care of yourself my dear Charles you were so apt at home to over exert yourself that we are all afraid when ever we read of your enjoying yourself. I will begin my letter with the very best news I can give. I mean my Father being very well & in good spirits and looking really much better than he did last year— Susan wrote last from Osmaston & she will have told you how thin & unwell poor William Fox was looking. he often talked about you and with great interest— seeing him put me so very much in mind of the pleasant rides I had with you and him when at Shrewsbury. it brought your voice & laugh so vividly before me & how I longed to hear it in reality— the eldest sister Eliza is I think the greatest bore I ever beheld & the poor lame girl Emma, the most perfect model of what a person should be,—I was much charmed by her, it is delightful I think to see a person so very very pleasing from goodness & religion acting upon every feeling as it does in her. We staid at Osmaston about 10 days & when we came back Erasmus came home & has been with us ever since—he is very nice & agreeable & we enjoy having him very much. I think he will go no expedition this summer but return to London when he leaves us. Mrs. Evans of Portrane wanted to persuade him to go with her into Scotland, & I believe he would if he had not discovered there were to be some young ladies of the party who he disliked. he is very constant to Mrs. Hensleigh Wedgwood & thinks her the nicest of women— She & Hensleigh were staying here last week with their baby who they are very fond of, & Erasmus with all his horror of babies plays with the little thing & watches it for any length of time—
Poor Aunt Bessy has been very dangerously ill—she has fits & in one of the last fell down & has lamed herself so that she cannot walk at all they had a tedious journey of 7 days from London with her, but she is at last safe arrived at Maer—
We have also had a little visit of 2 days from the Biddulphs. poor Fanny is very unwell with violent pains in her head at night & a good deal of fever— She has never been well a day since her confinement—& is looking so white, thin & refined you would scarcely know her, but very sweet & charming. Mr. Biddulph seems very much in love & fond of her which is the best thing about him I think, though I like him far better than I thought I should before I knew him. he is clever and rather amusing occasionally. Old Mrs. & Miss Biddulph are c〈om〉ing down to stay at Chirk Castle which 〈is〉 a great sh〈o〉ck to Fanny as it very much destroys he〈r〉 comfort there. I do not think she is at all altered by her marriage just as affectionate & unaffected as she used to be— I never see any of the Owens without them asking about you with the greatest kindness & interest Col. Mrs. Leighton & Clare dined here to meet the Biddulphs one day & Clare was such a contrast to Fanny—
Mr. George Maddocks has married his maid servant & since that has been flighty, so much so that he was put in restraint for a week— his madness first shewed itself by his stabbing 2 horses after driving them 60 miles because they could go no farther— I tell you all the gossip I can that you may know how the Shropshire world is going on— Susan’s present hobby is work, as it was when you went—she is now doing a magnificent bunch of flowers in an enormous frame. My hobby is a new Infant School now finished & the children & Governess all properly established in it & Catherine has a little drawing rage, not pots & pans but old men and women which are certainly better than the former
We expect Marianne here tomorrow— she has your letter which I am sorry for as it is always pleasant to have a letter one is answering to refer to—tho’ I wish it had brought the excellent news of the prospect of any time to expect you home. I am excessively glad it has answered to you so well & now two years of the dangers are over I am thankful to think & the Schooner must add to your safety
the draft for £70 was pd. on 31st. July & my Father says you were quite right to mention in your letter when you draw for money. My Father sends his best love & so does Eras & we all dearest Charles | Ever yrs affectely C S D.
Catherine has just been telling me how prettily & coquettishly Fanny Biddulph asked after you saying, “Has Charles quite forgotten me?” “does he ever mention me in his letters?” I have not at all forgotten our old Postillion & Housemaid days. Cath says she looked beautiful when saying all this—am I very immoral in repeating it?
News of family and friends. "I tell you all the gossip I can that you may know how the Shropshire world is going on."