I write because I cannot avoid wishing to be the first person to tell Mrs. Lyell and yourself, that I have the very good, and shortly since [i.e. until lately] very unexpected fortune of going to be married! The lady is my cousin Miss Emma Wedgwood, the sister of Hensleigh Wedgwood, and of the elder brother who married my sister, so we are connected by manifold ties, besides on my part, by the most sincere love and hearty gratitude to her for accepting such a one as myself.
I determined when last at Maer to try my chance, but I hardly expected such good fortune would turn up for me. I shall be in town in the middle or latter end of the ensuing week. (9/2. Mr. Darwin was married on January 29th, 1839 (see "Life and Letters," I., page 299). The present letter was written the day after he had become engaged.) I fear you will say I might very well have left my story untold till we met. But I deeply feel your kindness and friendship towards me, which in truth I may say, has been one chief source of happiness to me, ever since my return to England: so you must excuse me. I am well sure that Mrs. Lyell, who has sympathy for every one near her, will give me her hearty congratulations.
Believe me my dear Lyell Yours most truly obliged CHAS. DARWIN.
(PLATE: MRS. DARWIN. Walker and Cockerell, ph. sc.)
LETTER 10. TO EMMA WEDGWOOD. Sunday Night. Athenaeum. [January 20th, 1839.]
...I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my Maer visit,--I felt in anticipation my future tranquil life: how I do hope you may be as happy as I know I shall be: but it frightens me, as often as I think of what a family you have been one of. I was thinking this morning how it came, that I, who am fond of talking and am scarcely ever out of spirits, should so entirely rest my notions of happiness on quietness, and a good deal of solitude: but I believe the explanation is very simple and I mention it because it will give you hopes, that I shall gradually grow less of a brute, it is that during the five years of my voyage (and indeed I may add these two last) which from the active manner in which they have been passed, may be said to be the commencement of my real life, the whole of my pleasure was derived from what passed in my mind, while admiring views by myself, travelling across the wild deserts or glorious forests or pacing the deck of the poor little "Beagle" at night. Excuse this much egotism,-- I give it you because I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there is greater happiness than building theories and accumulating facts in silence and solitude. My own dearest Emma, I earnestly pray, you may never regret the great, and I will add very good, deed, you are to perform on the Tuesday: my own dear future wife, God bless you...The Lyells called on me to-day after church; as Lyell was so full of geology he was obliged to disgorge,--and I dine there on Tuesday for an especial confidence. I was quite ashamed of myself to-day, for we talked for half an hour, unsophisticated geology, with poor Mrs. Lyell sitting by, a monument of patience. I want practice in ill-treatment the female sex,--I did not observe Lyell had any compunction; I hope to harden my conscience in time: few husbands seem to find it difficult to effect this. Since my return I have taken several looks, as you will readily believe, into the drawing- room; I suppose my taste [for] harmonious colours is already deteriorated, for I declare the room begins to look less ugly. I take so much pleasure in the house (10/1. No. 12, Upper Gower Street, is now No. 110, Gower Street, and forms part of a block inhabited by Messrs. Shoolbred's employes. We are indebted, for this information, to Mr. Wheatley, of the Society of Arts.), I declare I am just like a great overgrown child with a new toy; but then, not like a real child, I long to have a co-partner and possessor.
(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.