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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin   [21 April 1851]


Monday | 12 o’clock.

My dearest N.

Your 2 letters are come & dear Fanny’s1 Your account of every hour is most precious. Poor darling she takes much more notice than I expected. I am confused now & hardly know what my impression is but I have considerable hope. I suppose a dose of opening physic2 has never been thought of. One must trust entirely to Dr Gully. Thank dear F. for her note. It gave me some comfort. Every word about her is precious. I have sent Bessy3 up to fetch Etty & she probably will find her gone to Leith Hill so it won’t signify. I have sent the 30 second glass off.4 It is such a comfort to know that you still bear up my own. It wd be so distressing. I am quite well & have considered every thing in case I should be taken short,5 but I don’t the least expect it. I think very likely Eliz. may come on Wed.6 How glad I am that the vomitting is not distressing to her. I have been living on the words of the Telegraph message till today. I am not quite so hopeful. Goodbye my own dearest. It is a dreadful period for all of us but except at post time my sufferings are nothing to yours.

yours. | E. D.

By your account & Fanny’s there certainly is much more vigour.


Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood’s letter dated ‘Saturday | 7 oclock’ is in DAR 210.13.
A purgative.
Bessie Harding, nurserymaid at Down House (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 80–1).
A sand-glass, probably used when taking a pulse.
Emma was in the final weeks of her pregnancy. Horace Darwin was born 13 May 1851.
Emma had sent a message via Fanny Allen asking Elizabeth Wedgwood to leave Jersey, where she was staying, and come to Down (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 132). According to Emma Darwin’s diary, Elizabeth arrived on Tuesday, 22 April. See also letter from Emma Darwin, [22–3 April 1851].


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


Discusses Anne’s sickness and her hope.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 22
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1409,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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