Tag Archives: plum pudding

Plum pudding for Charles Darwin

A portrait of Charles Darwin made shortly after he returned from the voyage of the Beagle.
A portrait of Charles Darwin made shortly after he returned from the voyage of the Beagle.

On 12 February 1834, Charles Darwin’s sister Susan penned an affectionate birthday letter to her beloved brother, who was then enduring the voyage of HMS Beagle. She wrote (in part*):

My dear Charles

This is your Birthday; so I must begin my letter to wish you joy, and many happy returns of it (but not abroad) mind that.

Papa who never forgets anniversarys remembered this day of course at Breakfast and sends you his best love & blessing on reaching 25 years. Poor old Nurse Nancy entertained me all the time I was dressing this mor[nin]g with many lamentations over your absence on this day when you ought to be eating Plum pudding with us, & all the Servants say she has not failed to put them in mind of you; so as I have often told you before, you are not forgotten by the least of us.—

….Good bye my dearest old Charley from y[ou]r very affectionate Susan Darwin[.]

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin!

*For the rest of the text to this and other Darwin letters, see the Darwin Correspondence Database.

A watercolor sketch of the Beagle at anchor by Conrad Martens.
A watercolor sketch of the Beagle at anchor by Conrad Martens.