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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Wedgwood   [30 November 1838]



My dear Charles

I like your unsentimental shaped paper very much so I hope you will stick to it. It holds so much. I really & solemnly think you are quite right about houses & so let us cast off the suburbs & what is more Susan thinks so too & you know what a wise woman she is. I read her what you said on that subject which I did not think was infringing on your wish of keeping your letters to myself. Dear good Susan has undertaken to get all the household linen which will be a great weight off our minds. She came over by the coach yesterday & we are enjoying her visit thoroughly. She brings a very good account of Caroline & will stay till Monday. The Hensleighs have asked me to go up with them for a week to look at houses with you. I think you thought of this plan yourself once, but I then thought it would be a bustle & not much use. Whether it will be of much use now I don’t know, but I am sure I shall like it of all things so I am a coming. The only thing I shall not like will be if it cheats me out of one of your visits here but you must not let it do that because we shall be in a bustle all the time I am at Notting Hill so that it will not do instead of a walk round Birth hill. I really think it will help matters if you fix upon 3 or 4 of the most likely houses for me to take a look at with you. Susan is all for Tavistock Sqr. but I am afraid that will be too extravagant. I want to be strictly incog so don’t say that I am coming to those dreadful blabs Erasmus & Robert for I don’t mean to go after any of my friends: So they need not know it till they see me at Notting Hill. I am very glad Roberts affair is so well got over. I do believe he has suffered a great deal with this unlucky affair. I want you to ask Robert whether he is going strait to Liverpool about the 15thbecause if so it would be very convenient by way of an escort home for me, but you must only find out from curiosity & not tell him your reason. & he may be going round by Oxford or elsewhere.

My dear Charley shall I really see you the end of next week. It will be very pleasant I do think. I will send your note to Frank. I am afraid poor Cavington will hate the sight of me. I have great hopes that with the excellent character you can give him he will get a situation & I am sure Frank will do all he can for him. The great Solomon thinks he knows of a man servant for you & if he approves nothing more can be desired. I have the offer of a housemaid whom I like in some respects. I see you want a real good scolding about getting your work done so you must think what a dreadful rage I shall be in if you are not at leisure the week after next to go a galivanting with me in the flies & omnibusses. It is very unlucky your having such a quantity of work on your hands. I quite approve of your plan of furnishing a bit of the house first & getting into it how we can & then furnishing at our leisure. I think it would be quite insulting to take the house in Bedford Place just opposite the Horneritas.1

There were several things in your last letter that pleased me uncommonly. I was a good deal flattered too by Thomas’s approbation, but your own flattery I like best though I don’t think you a very impartial judge. I feel sometimes inclined to say to you “I am very glad you think so” when I have said nothing in a very dignified way as if I thought your opinion quite a just one & no more than my due. Caroline says in a note to me that she can wish me no greater happiness than to meet with the same constant sympathy & affection she does & then it will not signify where I live as she finds. That is a wonderful marriage I say for the hundredth time, but I think I kn⁠⟨⁠ow⁠⟩⁠ one that will turn out quite as happy, though I don’t quite approve of Mr Lyell’s attempting to foment domestic dissention so early in the day as this. I don’t expect that you will be quite so lively at the Drson Sunday, he will know better than to talk in that frivolous unfeeling way upon such a solemn subject. I believe I shall take your advice about Lyells book especially as I begin to think he has such a bad heart. I shall do my errands in London now instead of going to Liverpool. I think you will be glad to see me my dear Charles so I will give you my blessing & wish you Good bye.

The Temperance Festival succeeded very well in spite of the weather which was as bad as possible. The room was fuller than it could hold & a Temperance song to the tune of “Auld lang syne” was sold for a halfpenny each Said to be composed by Miss Wedgwood of Camp Hill2 but not thought to be genuine. We are going to walk to Camp Hill this morning with Susan.

Goodbye once more write to me soon like a dear old soul. yours Emma W.


The Leonard Horners and five unmarried daughters lived at Lower Bedford Place. ‘Horneritas’ is obviously a play on ‘Señoritas’.
Emma’s aunt, Sarah Elizabeth (Sarah) Wedgwood, was a strong advocate of temperance (see Wedgwood 1980, p. 235). Camp Hill, on Maer heath, was her residence.


Wedgwood, Barbara and Wedgwood, Hensleigh. 1980. The Wedgwood circle, 1730–1897: four generations of a family and their friends. London: Studio Vista.


Has accepted the Hensleigh Wedgwoods’ invitation to go to London with them; can look at houses with CD. She wishes to avoid extravagance; asks him to choose three or four for her to see.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 152
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 447,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

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