To Susan Darwin [19 March 1849]
My dear Susan.
As you say you want my hydropathical diary, I will give it you1 —though tomorrow it is to change to a certain extent.— before 7. get up, & am scrubbed with rough towel in cold water for 2 or 3 minutes, which after the few first days, made & makes me very like a lobster— I have a washerman, a very nice person, & he scrubs behind, whilst I scrub in front.— drink a tumbler of water & get my clothes on as quick as possible & walk for 20 minutes—2 I cd walk further, but I find it tires me afterwards— I like all this very much.— At same time I put on a compress, which is a broad wet folded linen covered by mackintosh & which is “refreshed”—ie dipt in cold water every 2 hours & I wear it all day, except for about 2 hours after midday dinner; I don’t perceive much effect from this of any kind.— After my walk, shave & wash & get my breakfast, which was to have been exclusively toast with meat or egg, but he has allowed me a little milk to sop the stale toast in. At no time must I take any sugar, butter, spices tea bacon or anything good.—3 At 12 oclock I put my feet for 10 minutes in cold water with a little mustard & they are violently rubbed by my man; the coldness makes my feet ache much, but upon the whole my feet are certainly less cold than formerly.— Walk for 20 minutes & dine at one.— He has relaxed a little about my dinner & says I may try plain pudding, if I am sure it lessens sickness.—
After dinner lie down & try to go to sleep for one hour.— At 5 olock feet in cold water—drink cold water & walk as before— Supper same as breakfast at 6 oclock.— I have had much sickness this week, but certainly I have felt much stronger & the sickness has depressed me much less.— Tomorrow I am to be packed at 6 oclock A.M for 1 & hour in Blanket, with hot bottle to my feet & then rubbed with cold dripping sheet;4 but I do not know anything about this.— I grieve to say that Dr Gully gives me homoœopathic medicines three times a day, which I take obediently without an atom of faith.—5 I like Dr Gully much—he is certainly an able man: I have been struck with how many remarks he has made similar to those of my Father.—
He is very kind & attentive; but seems puzzled with my case—thinks my head or top of spinal chord cause of mischief—6 He has generously allowed me 6 pinches of snuff for all this week,7 which is my chief comfort except thinking all day of myself & prosing to Emma, who bless her old soul, thinks as much about me as I do even myself.— I am become perfectly indolent which I feel the oddest change of all to myself & this letter is the greatest mental effort done by me since coming here— My dearest sisters I wish I cd see you here.—8 I saw absolutely nothing of you at Down & never talked about my dear Father about whom it is now to me the sweetest pleasure to think, which I fear cannot be your case as yet.
My dears | Yours affectionly | C. D.
Perhaps Marianne & the Doctor wd like to see this.9
Annie10 was telling Miss Thorley all her Papa had to do about the water cure & how he liked it. “And it makes Papa so angry”. Miss T. must have thought it a very odd effect. He said it did make him feel cross. Papa was present at this conversation11
Writes a detailed account of his treatment at J. M. Gully’s hydropathy establishment at Malvern.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1234,” accessed on 20 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1234