emma darwin, wedgewood, emma wedgewood, charles darwin
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VICTORIANA - Enjoy articles relating to the Victorian Era. A regular column in each issue of The Tea House Times. Written by Patrice LePera - Authority, Victorian Era, Historical Writing - www.afterimage-art.com

April 2013 Posts


Blog Entry

Emma Darwin

posted by TeaHouseTimes Admin, ADMINMonday, April 29th 2013 @ 4:44 PM

Emma Darwin*

Not so widely known as other notable Victorian women, Emma Darwin lived nearly the entire length of the nineteenth century.  When she was born, in 1808, the ruling monarch was King George III.  In the same year, Beethoven premiered his Fifth Symphony, Goethe published the first part of Faust, and Napoleon’s armies were marching in ever widening arcs across Europe.  By the time of her death in 1896, the world she knew was utterly transformed.  The British Empire was rapidly expanding, science and technology were advancing in dramatic ways, and society and culture were very differnt from the days of her youth.  As a girl, Emma traveled by horse and carriage and read Jane Austen.  In the last decades of her life, she encountered the beginnings of modernity.  She tried an early form of telephone, saw one of her sons stand for Parliament, read Robert Louis Stevenson, and wondered, with some misgivings, whether her granddaughters should ride bicycles in the street.  Throughout, she remained a remarkable woman.

Emma Wedgewood Darwin, granddaughter of Josiah Wedgewood (founder of pottery of the same name), married her cousin Charles Darwin on January 29, 1839. She was known for compiling a cookery notebook.

*Taken from Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book by Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway,
Copyright © 2008, published by Glitterati Incorporated.


Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgewood**

Excerpt from a letter Postmarked 23 Nov. 1838:

. . . . I positively can do nothing, and have done nothing this whole week, but think of you and our future life.  You may then well imagine how I enjoy seeing your handwriting.  I should have written yesterday but waited for your letter: pray do not talk of my waiting till I have time for writing or inclination to do so.  It is a very high enjoyment to me, as I cannot talk to you, and feel your presence by having your own dear hand within mine. . . .

 . . . . I am impatient to see you again.  It is most provoking I cannot settle down to work in earnest, just at the very time I most want to do so.  There is the appendix of the Journal and half-a-dozen things besides this unlucky number, all waiting my good pleasure - every night I make vows and break them in the morning.  I do long to be seated beside you again, in the Library; one can then almost feel in anticipation the happiness to come.  I have just read your letter over again for the fifth time.  My own dear Emma, I feel as if I had been guilty of some very selfish action in obtaining such a good dear wife with no sacrifice at all on my part . . . .

**From Emma Darwin, a century of family letters, 1792-1896 (1915) - by Litchfield, Henrietta Emma Darwin




From the Mar/Apr 2013 issue of The Tea House Times.  To view the most recent issue, please register / log-in at http://www.theteahousetimes.com

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