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many more such, will be one of my last wishes in leaving England. God bless you, dear old Fox. May you always be happy.
I have left your letter behind, so do not know whether I direct right. C. Darwin to Miss Susan Darwin.
17 Spring Gardens, Tuesday,
(September 6, 1831.] MY DEAR SUSAN,
Again I am going to trouble you. I suspect, if I keep on at this rate, you will sincerely wish me at Tierra del Fuego, or any other Terra, but England. First I will give my commissions.
Tell Nancy to make me some twelve instead of eight shirts. Tell Edward to send me up in my carpet-bag (he can slip the key in the bag tied to some string), my slippers, a pair of lightish walking-shoes, my Spanish books, my new microscope (about six inches long and three or four deep), which must have cotton stuffed inside; my geological compass ; my father knows that; a little book, if I have got it in my bedroom-Taxidermy.' Ask my, father if he thinks there would be any objection to my taking arsenic for a little time, as my hands are not quite well, and I have always observed that if I once get them well, and change my manner of living about the same time, they will generally remain well. What is the dose? Tell Edward my gun is dirty. What is Erasmus's direction ? Tell me if you think there is time to write and receive an answer before I start, as I should like particularly to know what he thinks about it. I suppose you do not know Sir J. Mackintosh's direction?
I write all this as if it was settled, but it is not more than it was, excepting that from Captain Fitz-Roy wishing me so much to go, and, from his kindness, I feel a predestination I shall start. I spent a very pleasant evening with him yester
day. He must be more than twenty-three years old; he is of a slight figure, and a dark but handsome edition of Mr. Kynaston, and, according to my notions, pre-eminently good
He is all for economy, excepting on one pointviz., fire-arms. He recommends me strongly to get a case of pistols like his, which cost £60!! and never to go on shore anywhere without loaded ones, and he is doubting about a rifle; he says I cannot appreciate the luxury of fresh meat here. Of course I shall buy nothing till everything is settled ; but I work all day long at my lists, putting in and striking out articles. This is the first really cheerful day I have spent since I received the letter, and it all is owing to the sort of involuntary confidence I place in my beau ideal of a Captain.
We stop at Teneriffe. His object is to stop at as many places as possible. He takes out twenty chronometers, and it will be a “sin” not to settle the longitude. He tells me to get it down in writing at the Admiralty that I have the free choice to leave as soon and whenever I like. I dare say you expect I shall turn back at the Madeira ; if I have a morsel of stomach left, I won't give up. Excuse my so often troubling and writing: the one is of great utility, the other a great amusement to me. Most likely I shall write to-morrow. Answer by return of post. Love to my father, dearest Susan.
C. DARWIN. As my instruments want altering, send my things by the 'Oxonian' the same night.
C. Darwin to Miss Susan Darwin.
London, Friday Morning, September 9, 1831. MY DEAR SUSAN,
I have just received the parcel. I suppose it was not delivered yesterday owing to the Coronation. I am very much obliged to my father, and everybody else. Everything is done quite right. I suppose by this time you have received my letter written next day, and I hope will send off the things. My affairs remain in statu quo. Captain Beaufort says I am on the books for victuals, and he thinks I shall have no difficulty about my collections when I come home. But he is too deep a fish for me to make him out. The only thing that now prevents me finally making up my mind, is the want of certainty about the South Sea Islands ; although morally I have no doubt we should go there whether or no it is put in the instructions. Captain Fitz-Roy says I do good by plaguing Captain Beaufort, it stirs him up with a long pole. Captain Fitz-Roy says he is sure he has interest enough (particularly if this Administration is not everlasting-I shall soon turn Tory !), anyhow, even when out, to get the ship ordered home by whatever track he likes. From what Wood says, I presume the Dukes of Grafton and Richmond interest themselves about him. By the way, Wood has been of the greatest use to me ; and I am sure his personal introduction of me inclined Captain Fitz-Roy to have me.
To explain things from the very beginning: Captain FitzRoy first wished to have a Naturalist, and then he seems to have taken a sudden horror of the chances of having somebody he should not like on board the vessel. He confesses his letter to Cambridge was to throw cold water on the scheme. I don't think we shall quarrel about politics, although Wood (as might be expected from a Londonderry) solemnly warned Fitz-Roy that I was a Whig. Captain Fitz-Roy was before Uncle Jos., he said, “now your friends will tell you a seacaptain is the greatest brute on the face of the creation. I do not know how to help you in this case, except by hoping you will give me a trial.” How one does change! I actually now wish the voyage was longer before we touch land. I feel my blood run cold at the quantity I have to do. Everybody seems ready to assist me. The Zoological want to make me a corresponding member. All this I can construct without crossing the Equator. But one friend is quite invaluable, viz., a Mr. Yarrell, a stationer, and excellent naturalist.* He goes to the shops with me and bullies about prices (not that I yet buy): hang me if I give £60 for pistols.
* William Yarrell, well known for his ‘History of British Birds' and ‘History of British Fishes,' was born in 1784. He inherited from his * The Coronation of William IV.
Yesterday all the shops were shut, so that I could do nothing; and I was child enough to give £i is. for an excellent seat to see the Procession.* And it certainly was very well worth seeing. I was surprised that any quantity of gold could make a long row of people quite glitter. It was like only what one sees in picture books of Eastern processions. The King looked very well, and seemed popular, but there was very little enthusiasm ; so little that I can hardly think there will be a coronation this time fifty years.
The Life Guards pleased me as much as anything--they are quite magnificent; and it is beautiful to see them clear a crowd. You think that they must kill a score at least, and apparently they really hurt nobody, but most deucedly frighten them. Whenever a crowd was so dense that the people were forced off the causeway, one of these six-feet gentlemen, on a black horse, rode straight at the place, making his horse rear very high, and fall on the thickest spot. You would suppose men were made of sponge to see them
In the evening there was an illumination, and much grander than the one on the Reform Bill. All the principal streets were crowded just like a race-ground. Carriages generally being six abreast, and I will venture to say not going one mile an hour. The Duke of Northumberland learnt a lesson last time, for his house was very grand; much more so than the other great nobility, and in much better taste; every window in his house was full of straight lines of brilliant lights, and from their extreme regularity and number had a beautiful effect. The paucity of invention was very striking, crowns, anchors, and “W. R.'s ” were repeated in endless
father a newsagent's business, to which he steadily adhered up to his death, " in his 73rd year." He was a man of a thoroughly amiable and honour. able character, and was a valued office-bearer of several of the learned Societies.
succession. The prettiest were gas-pipes with small holes ; they were almost painfully brilliant. I have written so much about the Coronation, that I think you will have no occasion to read the Morning Herald.
For about the first time in my life I find London very pleasant; hurry, bustle, and noise are all in unison with my feelings. And I have plenty to do in spare moments. I work at Astronomy, as I suppose it would astound a sailor if one did not know how to find Latitude and Longitude. I am now going to Captain Fitz-Roy, and will keep [this] letter open till evening for anything that may occur. I will give you one proof of Fitz-Roy being a good officer-all the officers are the same as before; two-thirds of his crew and [the] eight marines who went before all offered to come again, so the service cannot be so very bad. The Admiralty have just issued orders for a large stock of canister-meat and lemonjuice, &c. &c. I have just returned from spending a long day with Captain Fitz-Roy, driving about in his gig, and shopping. This letter is too late for to-day's post.
You may consider it settled that I go. Yet there is room for change if any untoward accident should happen ; this I can see no reason to expect. I feel convinced nothing else will alter my wish of going. I have begun to order things. I have procured a case of good strong pistols and an excellent rifle for £50, there is a saving ; a good telescope, with compass, £5, and these are nearly the only expensive instruments I shall want. Captain Fitz-Roy has everything. I never saw so (what I should call, he says not) extravagant a man, as regards himself, but as economical towards me. he did order things! His fire-arms will cost £400 at least. I found the carpet bag when I arrived all right, and much obliged. I do not think I shall take any arsenic ; shall send partridges to Mr. Yarrell ; much obliged. Ask Edward to bargain with Clemson to make for my gun-two spare hammers or cocks, two main-springs, two sere-springs, four nipples or plugs—I mean one for each barrel, except nipples, of which there must be two for each, all of excellent quality, and set