skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [19 April 1851]


Saturday | 11. oclock

I make two letters for safety. & put the second in at last minute.

First Letter or Page

My own dear.

You will have received before this the Electric telegraph message, which I despatched at 9 this morning.—1 And it will have much comforted you.— After the second of yesterdays letters,2 when Dr. G. maintained she was not essentially worse, she began to sleep tranquilly & continued so throughout the whole night, Dr. Gully came at 11o. 30’ to see her keeping nice & warm with no vomiting, & she took a very little gruel. This morning she is a shade too hot: but the Dr. who was here at 812 thinks her going on very well.— You must not suppose her out of great danger.—

She keeps the same; just this minute she opened her mouth quite distinctly for gruel.—& said that is enough.— You would not in the least recognize her with her poor hard, sharp pinched features; I could only bear to look at her by forgetting our former dear Annie. There is nothing in common between the two.— Fanny Henleigh is here most kind of course: she does not think badly of her looks. How truly kind of her coming— Poor Annie has just said “Papa” quite distinctly.— Etty is gone with Hannah3 to London by Cheltenham Coach: (Etty never dreamed of danger to Annie) on Monday she goes with the others to Leith Hill.—4 Hensleigh5 is here on way to Newport.— I cannot express how it felt to have hopes last night at 11o. 30’ when Dr Gully came, saw her asleep & said “she is turning the corner”— I then dared picture to myself my own former Annie with her dear affectionate radiant face.— I have got your note. My dear dear Mammy let us hope & be patient over this dreadfull illness.—

Saturday. | 2. oclock. We expect Dr. Gully every minute; but he is fearfully overworked with 88 patients.— Annie has kept just in same tranquil, too tranquil state: she takes a table-spoonful of gruel every hour, & no physic. All trace of fever is now gone. & yet she is not chilly.— She begins to drink a little more this afternoon & I think that is good.— She has no evacuations, but this is hardly wonderful, considering her [illeg] vomiting.— 3 oclock.— the Dr. has been. he says she makes no progress, but no bad symptoms have appeared: but I am disappointed. 4 oclock We have been trying an injection with no success. But she has taken two spoonfuls of tea with evident relish, and no sickness, thank God. I find Fanny an infinite comfort— 5 oclock. just the same. I will write before late Post if Dr. G. comes— My dearest | C.D.—


Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Surrey, was the home of Caroline and Josiah Wedgwood III. Henrietta Darwin and the children of Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood stayed there while CD and Fanny nursed Anne in Malvern.
Hensleigh Wedgwood was Emma’s brother and Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood’s husband. Fanny remained with CD to help look after Anne. Some nine years previously, when Fanny had been exhausted by her new baby and was nursing Hensleigh Wedgwood through a dangerous illness, Emma had looked after her older children at Down (Wedgwood and Wedgwood 1980, pp. 246–7).


Wedgwood, Barbara and Wedgwood, Hensleigh. 1980. The Wedgwood circle, 1730–1897: four generations of a family and their friends. London: Studio Vista.


Detailed account of progress of Anne’s illness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 11
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1402,” accessed on 20 June 2024,

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