The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 63 of 188

Charles Darwin to J.S. Henslow.

Cambridge, Red Lion [September 2], 1831.

My dear Sir,

I am just arrived; you will guess the reason. My father has changed his mind. I trust the place is not given away.

I am very much fatigued, and am going to bed.

I dare say you have not yet got my second letter.

How soon shall I come to you in the morning? Send a verbal answer.

C. Darwin.

Charles Darwin to Miss Susan Darwin.

Cambridge, Sunday Morning [September 4].

My dear Susan,

As a letter would not have gone yesterday, I put off writing till to-day. I had rather a wearisome journey, but got into Cambridge very fresh. The whole of yesterday I spent with Henslow, thinking of what is to be done, and that I find is a great deal. By great good luck I know a man of the name of Wood, nephew of Lord Londonderry. He is a great friend of Captain Fitz-Roy, and has written to him about me. I heard a part of Captain Fitz-Roy’s letter, dated some time ago, in which he says: “I have a right good set of officers, and most of my men have been there before.” It seems he has been there for the last few years; he was then second in command with the same vessel that he has now chosen. He is only twenty-three years old, but [has] seen a deal of service, and won the gold medal at Portsmouth. The Admiralty say his maps are most perfect. He had choice of two vessels, and he chose the smallest. Henslow will give me letters to all travellers in town whom he thinks may assist me.

Peacock has sole appointment of Naturalist. The first person offered was Leonard Jenyns, who was so near accepting it that he packed up his clothes. But having [a] living, he did not think it right to leave it–to the great regret of all his family. Henslow himself was not very far from accepting it, for Mrs. Henslow most generously, and without being asked, gave her consent; but she looked so miserable that Henslow at once settled the point.

I am afraid there will be a good deal of expense at first. Henslow is much against taking many things; it is [the] mistake all young travellers fall into. I write as if it was settled, but Henslow tells me BY NO MEANS to make up my mind till I have had long conversations with Captains Beaufort and Fitz-Roy. Good-bye. You will hear from me constantly. Direct 17 Spring Gardens. TELL NOBODY in Shropshire yet. Be sure not.

C. Darwin.

I was so tired that evening I was in Shrewsbury that I thanked none of you for your kindness half so much as I felt.

Love to my father.

The reason I don’t want people told in Shropshire: in case I should not go, it will make it more flat.

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