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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin1   [31 October 1847]



My very dear Mammy

I had two wretched days on Friday & Saturday, but the second & largest boil has just broken so I shall be, & am now, much better. I lay all day up stairs on the sofa, groaning & grumbling & reading Last days of Pompeii—2 It has been one of my most painful boils— I have almost made up my mind to stay here till Wednesday & I shall not go round by Kew, as Hooker will come to us.— I have had plenty of time to think of you my own dearest, tenderest, best of wives—I do love & adore you— I have no doubt I shall be at home on Thursday— Kiss the dear children for me.— Susan3 gets on very slowly; her thumb, however, is better.— I fear Catty4 is just the same.— Many thanks for all your very nice letters, & your amusing one this morning:—we all here perfectly understand why so many laurels must be dug up, perhaps you would like the Azalia & one of the Deodars for Elizabeth.5

My dearest, I kiss you from my heart. | C.D.

Won’t you dig up a few of the apple-trees in the orchard? Are they not too thick? The Dr. says it is bad time now to prune laurels—6


This letter was written in pencil, but several sections of the text have been traced over in ink by Emma Darwin. Where CD’s original alterations are still visible, they have been recorded in the Manuscript alterations and comments.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin, CD’s sister.
Emily Catherine Darwin, CD’s younger sister.
Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood, Emma’s sister.
Robert Waring Darwin, who was an enthusiastic gardener. See letter to Leonard Jenyns, 21 [January 1847], n. 2.


Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George Earle Lytton. 1834. The last days of Pompeii. 3 vols. London.


Has had two bad days with boils.

Is reading Last days of Pompeii [Edward Bulwer Lytton (1834)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 26
Physical description
AL 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1132,” accessed on 29 May 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4