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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Catherine Darwin   27 [December 1836]


Tuesday. | 27th.

My dear Charley,

We want to hear from you again, to tell us how you are going on, and whether you have settled yourself comfortably by this time.— I suppose you received the Box all safe.— We have been living as quiet as mice lately,—and I hope you also have at last begun to be really quiet, which I know is what you most wish for.— It is so horridly cold, that one is nearly frozen up by it, and you must long for your Patagonian Dresses again.— Erasmus wrote us an account that Miss Martineau’s soirée turned out most brilliant;—the principal Lions were Mrs Butler, and a Mr Carlyle and his Wife; he writes all the articles on German Literature, in the Foreign Quarterly,1 and she is a little woman, with a profusion of hair, one of Erasmus’ married loves.— Neither Erasmus nor Mr Empson2 appear to have at all admired Mrs Butler;—and say she looked as if she was acting Juliet.— It was very odd the Hensleighs were not at that Party.— I heard from Fanny Hensleigh the other day, who says that she & Hensleigh find your Journal so interesting, that it is quite difficult to stop to criticize.— You have settled nothing more on that subject of course; and by the bye, have you ever heard from the Capt lately? I do believe he has jilted Mary O’Brien after all, as I have never seen his marriage in the Paper.— We heard through Maer the other day, that Hensleigh had been to see your Bones at the College of Surgeons, and that the unique head was lying in a room with workmen; which certainly ought not to be;— can you do any thing about it?—

I think Caroline wrote last to you; did she tell you what a capital Concert we had at the Theatre here— How I wish you had been at it, for I am sure you would have liked it. Caradori’s3 singing was beautiful, but the best performer was Ole Bull4 on the Violin, who I think very superior to Paganini; I met young Corfield5 there, and he told me to tell you that the Mr Thompson, who married Lady Fitzwilliam is not your friend, as he is not a Fellow Commoner, and his name is Henry, not Leonard.—

I was at Woodhouse, about ten days ago, for an Ellesmere Ball, and met Fanny Biddulph there; Mr Biddulph was out on a shooting party, so I saw her, and her charming little girl quite comfortably; she is better than when you saw her; you cannot think how much she admired your beautiful flowers; I wish you could have heard how thoroughly she & all the young Ladies there admired their beauty;—and I am sure dear Fanny was very much pleased by your remembrance of her.— She is going to write to you soon, and will send the note here for me to forward on to you; & she declares she will begin “my dear Mr Charles” as she says, you wrote her such a formal note, beginning, “my dear Mrs Biddulph”.— I wore my pretty flowers also one night at Woodhouse, which were very much admired indeed.

You will envy me, when you hear that I brought back your Beauty, Miss Boughey with me in the Phaeton, to Bicton.— Mr Smythe was at Woodhouse also, who is supposed to be desperately in love with her, but I did not see much signs of it.—6

Goodbye, dear Charley— Pray write to us, as we long to hear from you. Yrs ever, Catherine.—

Papa will place to your account next week, 1st of January, 50£, half year’s allowance, and 51£, half year’s interest due.—


Thomas Carlyle wrote no articles on German literature after 1832 for Foreign Quarterly Review. Hannibal Evans Lloyd reviewed German books and John Stuart Blackie wrote some articles on German literature. Blackie was a Carlyle disciple and his style was similar; since all contributions were unsigned, his articles may have been mistaken for Carlyle’s. (See DNB and Wellesley Index vol. 2.)


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Wellesley index: The Wellesley index to Victorian periodicals 1824–1900. Edited by Walter E. Houghton et al. 5 vols. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1966–89.


News of family and friends, Harriet Martineau’s soirée; funds deposited for him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin/Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Shrewsbury DE 28 1836
Source of text
DAR 204: 134
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 336,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

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