skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [17 April 1851]1


4 oclock.

My dearest Emma.

I am assured that Annie is several degrees better: I have in vain tryed to see Dr. Gully as yet. She looks very ill: her face lighted up & she certainly knew me.— She has not had wine, but several spoon-fulls of broth, & ordinary physic of camphor & ammonia— Dr Gully is most confident there is strong hope.— Thank God she does not suffer at all—half dozes all day long. I will write again if I can anyhow see Dr Gully before seven oclock. My own dearest support yourself— on no account for the sake of ⁠⟨⁠ou⁠⟩⁠r other children; I implore you, do not think of coming here.—3

Yours my dearest | C. Darwin

I am assured there is great hope.— Yesterday she was a little better, & today again a little better.—


Dated on the basis that CD would have reported on Anne’s condition as soon as he arrived in Malvern (see n. 2, below). Emma wrote ‘1st account | Thursday evg’ on the back of the letter.
CD had taken his eldest daughter, Anne Elizabeth, to Malvern on 24 March (letter to W. D. Fox, [27 March 1851], n. 9). He returned to Down on 31 March. Soon after arriving in Malvern, Anne developed a fever. When her condition deteriorated, James Manby Gully sent for CD to return. CD arrived in Malvern for the second time on 17 April (Emma Darwin’s diary).
A letter of 18 April, from Fanny Allen to Elizabeth Wedgwood, describes how Emma (who had to remain at Down because of her imminent confinement) responded to the news in this and other letters concerning Anne’s illness. ‘Poor Emma is very low, but her health is not injured. She is so afraid that this anxiety may injure Charles’s health, which is always affected by his mind, that she has desired Fanny Hensleigh [Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood] to go down to Malvern.’ (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 132–3).


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Reports the state of Anne Darwin’s health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 8
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1399,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5