To J. S. Henslow 6 May 1849
The Lodge, Malvern
May 6, 1849
My dear Henslow
Your kind note has been forwarded to me here. You will be surprised to hear that we all, children servants and all have been here for nearly two months. All last autumn and winter my health grew worse and worse; incessant sickness, tremulous hands and swimming head; I thought I was going the way of all flesh. Having heard of much success in some cases from the Cold Water Cure, I determined to give up all attempts to do anything and come here and put myself under Dr Gully. It has answered to a considerable extent: my sickness much checked and considerable strength gained. Dr G., moreover, (and I hear he rarely speaks confidently) tells me he has little doubt but that he can cure me, in the course of time, time however it will take. I have experienced enough to feel sure that the Cold Water Cure is a great powerful agent and upsetter of all constitutional habits. Talking of habits the cruel wretch has made me leave off snuff—that chief solace of life. We thank you most sincerely for your prompt and early invitation to Hitcham for Brit. Assoc. for 1850:1 if I am made well and strong, most gladly will I accept it; but as I have been hitherto, a drive every day of half-a-dozen miles would be more than I could stand with attending any of the sections. I intend going to Birmingham, if able; indeed I am bound to attempt it, for I am honoured beyond all measure in being one of the V.P.2 I am uncommonly glad you will be there; I fear, however, we shall not have any such charming trips as Nuneham and Dropmore.3 We shall stay here till at least June 1st., perhaps till July 1st., and I shall have to go on with the aqueous treatment at home for several more months. One most singular effect of the treatment is, that it induces in most people, and eminently in my case, the most complete stagnation of mind: I have ceased to think even of Barnacles!
I heard sometime since from Hooker; but the letter was so purely Geological that I did not suppose it would interest Miss Henslow: How capitally he seems to have succeeded in all his enterprises. You must be very busy now: I happened to be thinking the other day over the Gamlingay trip to the Lilies of the Valley:4 are those were delightful days5 when one had no such organ as a stomach, only a mouth and the masticating appurtenances. I am very much surprised at what you say, that men are beginning to work in earnest [at] Botany.6 What a loss it will be for Nat. History, that you have ceased to reside all the year in Cambridge.
My dear Henslow farewell. | Yours most affectionately | C. Darwin
I hope that Mrs. Henslow is much better: we are all flourishing.
Describes cold water cure he has been taking for two months at J. M. Gully’s establishment.
Plans to go to BAAS meeting at Birmingham if health improves.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1241,” accessed on 28 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1241