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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. T. Whitley   23 November [1838]


November 23d

My dear Whitley

I have been very long in answering your kind letter: but now I have some news to tell you, which, I am sure will please you, as holding out to me, the best chance of happiness, mortal man can boast of in this world.—

It can be nothing else, but that I am going to be married. The lady is my cousin Miss Emma Wedgwood.— you will approve of marrying a cousin:1 & if you knew what a good dear little wife, the lady will surely make, you would approve still more, & congratulate me, heartily, on my good fortune.—

We are to be married in the end of January, & intend living in London, at least for some years, until I have wearied the geological public with my newly acquired cacoethes scribendi.— I have a busy, & therefore a happy life before me, with a comfortable, though rather humble, fireside to spend my evenings, & the evening of my life by the side of, that is, if I have the luck to live so long.— My future wife is a very good musician, so that I m⁠⟨⁠ea⁠⟩⁠n to acquire first rate taste in music, & nothing less than symphonies of Beethoven shall go down.—

I am glad to find from your letter that science is not so much at a discount with you as formerly: although I believe it was always rather more theoretically so, than practically.— I am glad to find, you wondered properly at Glen Roy.— I cannot get people to be half enough astonished at it.— I saw nothing in my perigrinations to the Antipodes, nearly so curious in physical geography.— I do not doubt they are old sea-beaches: & many most curious inferences may be, I believe, deduced from the fact.— This is a marvellous world we live in, & I never cease marvelling at it. But just at this present time I marvel more at the prospect of having a real, live, goodly wife to myself than at all the hundred wonders of the world.

I am very much obliged for your kind invitation northward.— I fear it will be long before I shall be able to bend my steps that way: I often regret, how little I see of my good old friends: but the recollection of them & of Cambridge days & of our long walks often gives me real happiness. Heaviside flourishes at Heyleibury:2 I was astonished the other day by being hailed by a Revd. Prof. of that College, as President: which was explained to me by being informed that Heaviside had stated over what a noble club—I had once Presided.3

Good bye, my dear Whitley, | Most truly yrs, C. Darwin


Whitley had married his cousin, Frances Whitley, in 1836.
James William Lucas Heaviside was Professor of Mathematics at the East India Company College, Haileybury.
A reference to the Glutton (or Gourmet) Club of Cambridge undergraduate days (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from Frederick Watkins, [18 September 1831]).


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


Announces his engagement.

Glad CW wondered at Glen Roy. "I saw nothing in my peregrinations to the Antipodes nearly so curious in physical geography."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Thomas Whitley
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 443,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2