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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. S. Wedgwood   20 April 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

April 20th, (1876)

My dear Caroline

Emma is in bed with a feverish cold, so I am glad of the opportunity of writing.1 It is a good sign that you are able to write at all, but we grieve over the poor account which you give of yourself. You speak of your patience as almost exhausted, but I have been full of admiration at the wonderful endurance which you have shown in your long and terrible illness. I hardly ever heard of such long suffering. How I do wish we could hear a really better account.2 You are right that we last met at Abinger, and a very pleasant remembrance I have of your little visit.3 We have a sick house here: Henriette has had much internal pain and we had Dr. Andrew Clarke here yesterday evening.4 He thank Heaven thinks nothing very serious is the matter, but says she has some fever and is fearfully weak so that he could not count her pulse. She is to eat every 2 hours at all cost, she has managed pretty well today in eating, and I have just left her with no pain and dosing. We were to have gone for 6 days to Erasmus today, for I want a change and rest, but of course this is all knocked on the head.5 Poor Etty wants to be at home and as soon as she can move she will do so, and we shall probably get one of the bed-carriages about which we wrote to you. Nothing can be nicer than Litchfield about her.6 George went back to Cambridge yesterday wonderfully well, and he quite recovered Malta which was an utter failure.7 We heard grand news this morning that Leonard will come home in latter part of May: he had the choice between then and late in Autumn, and could not resist the former,8 but as he begs in the


Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that she was in bed with a cold from 20 to 22 April 1876.
Caroline’s letter has not been found. CD’s sister Caroline had been confined to bed for nine months (see letter to W. D. Fox, 26 May [1876]).
Caroline and her husband, Josiah Wedgwood II, visited the Darwins from 29 June to 1 July 1875 at Abinger, Surrey; the Darwins were staying for a month in Thomas Henry Farrer’s house there (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
The Darwins ended up staying with CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, from 27 April until 3 May 1876 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Henrietta was staying at Down but lived with her husband, Richard Buckley Litchfield, at 2 Bryanston Street, London. CD arranged to have Caroline brought home from Felixstowe, where she had been taken ill in August 1875, in a special train and bed carriage; see letter to W. D. Fox, 26 May [1876], and letter to S. A. Cecil, 8 June 1876. See also letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [March 1876] in DAR 219.9: 131.
CD’s son George Howard Darwin was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. In the hope that the climate would improve his health, he had visited Malta from January to March 1876 (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from Emma Darwin to J. B. Innes, 24 December [1875] and n. 8).
Leonard Darwin was in the Royal Engineers, and had been stationed in Malta since September 1875 (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter to C. E. Norton, 7 October 1875 and n. 6). He came to Down on 8 May 1876 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Grieves over poor account of her health. Emma and Henrietta are also ill.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 153: 3
Physical description
C 2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10461,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24