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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Elinor Mary Bonham-Carter   20 March [1868]1

〈    〉

March 20

Dear Mr Darwin

My sister in law Mrs Henry B C wishes me to tell you that the result of her observations on her youngest child up to this time is as follows:2 At 2 months & 2 days old—the nurse first saw its eyes full of tears, she herself saw the same thing at 11 weeks old— The child is now 12 weeks old— it does not weep tears, but the 〈    〉 of screaming seems to force one or two tears out of the eye. If this is any use to you & if you can point out anything else to be observed, will you tell Henrietta3 as I shall see her tomorrow

I hope you are keeping pretty well & able to enjoy London. I was very sorry to hear that Mrs Darwin had the Influenza.4

Believe me | yours affectionately | Elinor Bonham Carter

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘(Expression) | (Keep)’5 pencil; square brackets in original


The year is established by the references to the Darwins’ stay in London and to Emma Darwin’s illness (see below, n. 4).
Sibella Charlotte Bonham-Carter’s son Norman Bonham-Carter was born on 29 December 1867 (ODNB, s.v. Carter, Henry Bonham).
Henrietta Emma Darwin.
CD was in London from 3 March to 1 April 1868. Emma Darwin was ill with influenza from 14 to 19 March 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
CD’s annotation refers to his ongoing study of expression of emotions. In Expression, p. 153, there is a reference to a child of eighty-four days (twelve weeks) producing tears that failed to run down the face, but no source for the information is cited.


Reports her sister-in-law’s observations of her child, up to three months old, while crying and screaming.

Letter details

Letter no.
Elinor Mary Bonham-Carter
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 244
Physical description
4pp damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6028,” accessed on 23 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16