RECORD: Darwin, Emma. [1879.28.06]. [Incomplete, Emma Darwin to Francis Darwin]. CUL-DAR211.93. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 1.2021. RN1

NOTE: Francis was inWürzburg at Julius Sachs's botanical institute. Laura Mary Forster, (1839-1924) was Henrietta Emma Darwin's friend and became the family's life-long friend. According to Emma Darwin's diary, Laura Mary Foster visited in Down House on 13 June and 20 June 1879. She lent her house in West Hackhurst to the Darwins for their brief holiday. In Darwin's personal journal, he recorded "28th Laura Forster. July 1. Home." Emma also recorded in her diary "wrote [F] from Laura's" so this letter to Francis can be dated 28 June 1879.

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.






My dear Frank

It is such a time since I have really written to you but F has been writing axles to you most days & says he always condescended to add a little news of B [Bernard Darwin].

We have had our heads very full of family affairs.

10 days ago Horace came home from spending 2 days w. Laura, in a gt state of happiness at having been

[In Francis Darwin's handwriting?] –

This is a pleasant letter of Hen. but her adventure up the hill might have been a blessing [illeg]


accepted by Ida. F. attempted to sober him down being convinced that T. H. F. – wd not like it. We went to London on the Thursday [26 June] & found a v. kind but derisive veto in a note from him, & saying that all intercourse must cease – This was a terrible blow to H – as Ida also had no idea of any serious objections (which were to his health & want of a profession) -


However after friendly & affectionate talks w. T .H. & Effie (who has been most charming in the matter) it rests so for the present; but Effie is perfectly convinced that Ida will not change - & that sooner or later it can only end in one way – I feel rather uneasy about Horace's health being worsened by the strain; but the best thing for him is that he shd be as hopeful as possible. He has no doubts about her – He will soon settle at Cam. & his 2


beloveds & George will be the most wholesome society for him, filling his head with axles-

Ida has been charming & open & affectionate to all of us & declares she means to eat & sleep & be quite happy.

We have had 4 rainy not all day days but the boys are excellent about amusing themselves, B. is very fond of Walter & r. [rather] snubs Robt. It shews how soon a want of tact & sense tells upon a child. Robt takes it w. perfect good temper.


Marching & drumming still continue the rage & B. made himself quite red in the face today with tremendous long steps & blowing the trumpet all the time. We have settled to go to the Hotel at Coniston for a month & we start on Aug 1. have you at all made up yr plans & shall you not join us there? I hope so, or shall you take B. to Pant [Pantlludw, near Machynlleth, Wales]–

Monday – I kept this letter back for a day as Horace said he wanted to write


to you himself; but he is going to London & has had difficult letters to write to Effie – (hers to him was most kind & sympathetic) & his pen does not flow – yesterday came a note from T.H.F. asking him to come & dine with him somewhere e.g. Hampton Court – H. is rather alarmed but thinks it bodes good rather than not. – I think it must be by way of getting to know him better –

Hen is really better & will come w. us to the Lakes – Leo went last week & ferreted all about & found nothing suitable but the Hotel, which will rather shock F. by the expense of it. We go up in a saloon carriage & he is quite resigned. We have got Elinor & Albert D since Sat. He is very pleasant & joyous; but she looks v. unwell. I am afraid her health has taken a serious turn downwards –

We have got the proof sheets of Dr. D. & they say it reads pleasantly & entertaining-

[Erasmus Darwin. F1319]


B. takes no pictures so well as his own, not even yours – I must send you a sample – We did so enjoy our 3 days at Lauras tho' we were r. too full of Horace's troubles but things were more prosperous than they had been. - & Effie & T .H. were so cordial & affect – Laura joined us the last day- She is the best friend H. has; but she is wisely discreet in the matter.

On the muddy gravel walk I am looking at; but things nearly done

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