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Division watching a case or devilling for somebody, I unconsciously

time:2023-11-29 14:06:32 source:History Network author:knowledge read:325次

(10/2. The following passage is taken from the MS. copy of the "Autobiography;" it was not published in the "Life and Letters" which appeared in Mrs. Darwin's lifetime:--)

Division watching a case or devilling for somebody, I unconsciously

You all know your mother, and what a good mother she has ever been to all of you. She has been my greatest blessing, and I can declare that in my whole life I have never heard her utter one word I would rather have been unsaid. She has never failed in kindest sympathy towards me, and has borne with the utmost patience my frequent complaints of ill-health and discomfort. I do not believe she has ever missed an opportunity of doing a kind action to any one near her. I marvel at my good fortune that she, so infinitely my superior in every single moral quality, consented to be my wife. She has been my wise adviser and cheerful comforter throughout life, which without her would have been during a very long period a miserable one from ill-health. She has earned the love of every soul near her.

Division watching a case or devilling for somebody, I unconsciously

LETTER 11. C. LYELL TO C. DARWIN. [July?, 1841?].

Division watching a case or devilling for somebody, I unconsciously

(11/1. Lyell started on his first visit to the United States in July, 1841, and was absent thirteen months. Darwin returned to London July 23rd, 1841, after a prolonged absence; he may, therefore, have missed seeing Lyell. Assuming the date 1841 to be correct, it would seem that the plan of living in the country was formed a year before it was actually carried out.)

I have no doubt that your father did rightly in persuading you to stay [at Shrewsbury], but we were much disappointed in not seeing you before our start for a year's absence. I cannot tell you how often since your long illness I have missed the friendly intercourse which we had so frequently before, and on which I built more than ever after your marriage. It will not happen easily that twice in one's life, even in the large world of London, a congenial soul so occupied with precisely the same pursuits and with an independence enabling him to pursue them will fall so nearly in my way, and to have had it snatched from me with the prospect of your residence somewhat far off is a privation I feel as a very great one. I hope you will not, like Herschell, get far off from a railway.


(12/1. The following letter was written to his sister Catherine about two months before Charles Darwin settled at Down:--)

You must have been surprised at not having heard sooner about the house. Emma and I only returned yesterday afternoon from sleeping there. I will give you in detail, as my father would like, MY opinion on it--Emma's slightly differs. Position:--about 1/4 of a mile from the small village of Down in Kent--16 miles from St. Paul's--8 1/2 miles from station (with many trains) which station is only 10 from London. This is bad, as the drive from [i.e. on account of] the hills is long. I calculate we are two hours going from London Bridge. Village about forty houses with old walnut trees in the middle where stands an old flint church and the lanes meet. Inhabitants very respectable--infant school--grown up people great musicians--all touch their hats as in Wales and sit at their open doors in the evening; no high road leads through the village. The little pot-house where we slept is a grocer's shop, and the landlord is the carpenter--so you may guess the style of the village. There are butcher and baker and post-office. A carrier goes weekly to London and calls anywhere for anything in London and takes anything anywhere. On the road [from London] to the village, on a fine day the scenery is absolutely beautiful: from close to our house the view is very distant and rather beautiful, but the house being situated on a rather high tableland has somewhat of a desolate air. There is a most beautiful old farm-house, with great thatched barns and old stumps of oak trees, like that of Skelton, one field off. The charm of the place to me is that almost every field is intersected (as alas is ours) by one or more foot-paths. I never saw so many walks in any other county. The country is extraordinarily rural and quiet with narrow lanes and high hedges and hardly any ruts. It is really surprising to think London is only 16 miles off. The house stands very badly, close to a tiny lane and near another man's field. Our field is 15 acres and flat, looking into flat-bottomed valleys on both sides, but no view from the drawing- room, which faces due south, except on our flat field and bits of rather ugly distant horizon. Close in front there are some old (very productive) cherry trees, walnut trees, yew, Spanish chestnut, pear, old larch, Scotch fir and silver fir and old mulberry trees, [which] make rather a pretty group. They give the ground an old look, but from not flourishing much they also give it rather a desolate look. There are quinces and medlars and plums with plenty of fruit, and Morello cherries; but few apples. The purple magnolia flowers against the house. There is a really fine beech in view in our hedge. The kitchen garden is a detestable slip and the soil looks wretched from the quantity of chalk flints, but I really believe it is productive. The hedges grow well all round our field, and it is a noted piece of hayland. This year the crop was bad, but was bought, as it stood, for 2 pounds per acre--that is 30 pounds--the purchaser getting it in. Last year it was sold for 45 pounds--no manure was put on in the interval. Does not this sound well? Ask my father. Does the mulberry and magnolia show it is not very cold in winter, which I fear is the case? Tell Susan it is 9 miles from Knole Park and 6 from Westerham, at which places I hear the scenery is beautiful. There are many very odd views round our house-- deepish flat-bottomed valley and nice farm-house, but big, white, ugly, fallow fields;--much wheat grown here. House ugly, looks neither old nor new--walls two feet thick--windows rather small--lower story rather low. Capital study 18 x 18. Dining-room 21 x 18. Drawing-room can easily be added to: is 21 x 15. Three stories, plenty of bedrooms. We could hold the Hensleighs and you and Susan and Erasmus all together. House in good repair. Mr. Cresy a few years ago laid out for the owner 1,500 pounds and made a new roof. Water-pipes over house--two bath-rooms--pretty good offices and good stable-yard, etc., and a cottage. I believe the price is about 2,200 pounds, and I have no doubt I shall get it for one year on lease first to try, so that I shall do nothing to the house at first (last owner kept three cows, one horse, and one donkey, and sold some hay annually from one field). I have no doubt if we complete the purchase I shall at least save 1,000 pounds over Westcroft, or any other house we have seen. Emma was at first a good deal disappointed, and at the country round the house; the day was gloomy and cold with N.E. wind. She likes the actual field and house better than I; the house is just situated as she likes for retirement, not too near or too far from other houses, but she thinks the country looks desolate. I think all chalk countries do, but I am used to Cambridgeshire, which is ten times worse. Emma is rapidly coming round. She was dreadfully bad with toothache and headache in the evening and Friday, but in coming back yesterday she was so delighted with the scenery for the first few miles from Down, that it has worked a great change in her. We go there again the first fine day Emma is able, and we then finally settle what to do.


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