The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 65 of 188

Charles Darwin to J.S. Henslow.

London, Monday, [September 5, 1831].

My dear Sir,

Gloria in excelsis is the most moderate beginning I can think of. Things are more prosperous than I should have thought possible. Captain Fitz-Roy is everything that is delightful. If I was to praise half so much as I feel inclined, you would say it was absurd, only once seeing him. I think he really wishes to have me. He offers me to mess with him, and he will take care I have such room as is possible. But about the cases he says I must limit myself; but then he thinks like a sailor about size. Captain Beaufort says I shall be upon the Boards, and then it will only cost me like other officers. Ship sails 10th of October. Spends a week at Madeira Islands; and then Rio de Janeiro. They all think most extremely probable, home by the Indian archipelago; but till that is decided, I will not be so.

What has induced Captain Fitz-Roy to take a better view of the case is, that Mr. Chester, who was going as a friend, cannot go, so that I shall have his place in every respect.

Captain Fitz-Roy has [a] good stock of books, many of which were in my list, and rifles, etc., so that the outfit will be much less expensive than I supposed.

The vessel will be out three years. I do not object so that my father does not. On Wednesday I have another interview with Captain Beaufort, and on Sunday most likely go with Captain Fitz-Roy to Plymouth. So I hope you will keep on thinking on the subject, and just keep memoranda of what may strike you. I will call most probably on Mr. Burchell and introduce myself. I am in lodgings at 17 Spring Gardens. You cannot imagine anything more pleasant, kind, and open than Captain Fitz-Roy’s manners were to me. I am sure it will be my fault if we do not suit.

What changes I have had. Till one to-day I was building castles in the air about hunting foxes the Shropshire, now llamas in South America.

There is indeed a tide in the affairs of men. If you see Mr. Wood, remember me very kindly to him.

My dear Henslow,
Your most sincere friend,
Chas. Darwin.

Excuse this letter in such a hurry.

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

17 Spring Gardens, London,
September 6, 1831.

Your letter gave me great pleasure. You cannot imagine how much your former letter annoyed and hurt me. (He had misunderstood a letter of Fox’s as implying a charge of falsehood.) But, thank heaven, I firmly believe that it was my own entire fault in so interpreting your letter. I lost a friend the other day, and I doubt whether the moral death (as I then wickedly supposed) of our friendship did not grieve me as much as the real and sudden death of poor Ramsay. We have known each other too long to need, I trust, any more explanations. But I will mention just one thing– that on my death-bed, I think I could say I never uttered one insincere (which at the time I did not fully feel) expression about my regard for you. One thing more–the sending immediately the insects, on my honour, was an unfortunate coincidence. I forgot how you naturally would take them. When you look at them now, I hope no unkindly feelings will rise in your mind, and that you will believe that you have always had in me a sincere, and I will add, an obliged friend. The very many pleasant minutes that we spent together in Cambridge rose like departed spirits in judgment against me. May we have many more such, will be one of my last wishes in leaving England. God bless you, dear old Fox. May you always be happy.

Yours truly,
Chas. Darwin.

I have left your letter behind, so do not know whether I direct right.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)