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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox   [6 March 1849]1

Down Bromley | Kent


Dear Mr Fox

As Charles is recovering from a lingering attack he has desired me to answer your very kind note. We really are going to set out “bag & baggage” to Malvern as soon as he is well enough. It is a great trouble taking all the household, but we think he could not give Dr Gully’s treatment a fair trial under 6 weeks or 2 months & that would be too long to leave the children even with their Aunts. We both feel very hopeful that it will be of some use to Charles tho we do not venture to hope a cure. This has been a disheartening winter with respect to his health.

Dr Gully writes like a sensible man & does not speak very confidently.2 Susan & Catherine are now with us & both pretty well & I am glad to see that Susan’s spirits are good enough to make her feel an interest in all that goes on. I mention her particularly as she was more constantly with her father & therefore would feel the blank more.3 Catherine is going abroad for some weeks with a sister & an Aunt of mine in the course of the spring.

One of the things we shall most enjoy if it pleases Heaven to give Charles the blessing of better health would be to see more of you & Mrs Fox & that all our children should become intimate. I have no doubt I have not thanked you half enough for your thorough interest in this step of ours

Mrs Fox & I should feel very jealous & spiteful at each others babies just now for I think they are about the same age.4 Ours is a remarkably nice one I must say.

with our kindest remembrances to Mrs F. E. D.


The date is the Tuesday before CD and his family left for Malvern, where they arrived on 10 March 1849 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I). According to Emma Darwin’s diary, she and CD left Down on 8 March and travelled via London. She noted that the children also arrived in Malvern on 10 March.
Letters from James Manby Gully have not been found. In his book (Gully 1846), Gully discussed the doubts and criticisms of his water treatment and warned patients not to expect miracle cures. In particular, he stated that nervous indigestion, for which CD was to be treated, could not be cured in less than six months (p. 167).
Robert Waring Darwin had died the previous November.
Charles Woodd Fox was born on 23 February 1847 and Francis Darwin on 16 August 1847 (Darwin Pedigree).


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

Gully, James Manby. 1846. The water cure in chronic disease: an exposition of the causes, progress, & terminations of various chronic diseases of the digestive organs, lungs, nerves, limbs, & skin; and of their treatment by water, and other hygienic means. London: J. Churchill.


The entire family will set out for Malvern for six to eight weeks’ trial of J. M. Gully’s water-cure.

Family news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 72)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1233,” accessed on 31 March 2023,

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