DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). Autograph letter signed ("C.D.") to his wife, Emma Darwin ("My dear Wife"), n.p. [Down, Kent, "Monday Night" [?February 1843]. 4 pages, 4to, with Emma's later notes at top of first page ("Etty was baby so about 43 or 44 after removal to Down") and at end ("this letter to be for Henrietta").
THE NATURALIST IN THE NURSERY
An unusual early letter in which the young naturalist records "my day's annals" and the doings of the Darwin brood for his absent wife. "In the morning I was baddish, & did hardly any work & was as much overcome by my children, as ever Bishop Coplestone was with Duck. But the children have been very good all day, & I have grown a great deal better in the afternoon & had a good romp with Baby..." Although the day was "thick and wet with fog," he managed "a long pace in the vegetable garden. Lewis came up to mend the pipe & paper the w.c. in which compartment there was a considerable crowd for about an hour, when Mr Lewis, his son William, Willy, Annie, Baby & Bessy were there. Baby insisted on going in, I daresay, greatly to the disturbance of Bessy's delicacy....They also dined in the kitchen, & I believe had a particularly pleasant day..."
He gives an account of baby Henrietta's encounter with a large fly in the window, and comments that the children "are growing so quite out of rule in the drawing-room, jumping on everything & butting like young bulls at every chair & sofa, that I am going to have the dining-room fire lighted tomorrow & keep them out of the drawing-room."
He details his non-scientific reading: "I read Whitely's Shakespeare & very ingenious & interesting it is, and what do you think Thetford's Greece has made me begin, the Iliad of Cowper, which we were talking of, & have read 3 books with much more pleasure, than I anticapated..." Describing the next day's activities, he relates that "when I asked Willy how Baby slept...he answered 'she did not cry one mouthful'..."