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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood   28 [April 1851]

Chester Terrace

Monday 28th

My dearest Emma & Charles—

Though it seems like disturbing you, yet I cannot rest without writing to thank you both for the precious letters from each of you that I found waiting for me when I came home on Saturday. I cannot tell you the comfort & even pleasure, sad as it was, that they gave me—to think that I shd have been able to assist Charles in going home on Thursday as he so touchingly tells me that I did—& you dearest Emma had the happiness of his arrival before you expected, & that he was not worse in health the next morning. I had the great comfort before we left Malvern of hearing of his arrival the same evening—but I did not look to yours & his excessive kindness & consideration, for finding your letters here when our journey was ended— I feel so longing to know & hear all about you & your suffering after my being so bound to you in my watching of your dear child— It will be long before you will be able to conquer that feeling of longing which is so bitter, & yet there will be some thing on the other side, the recollection of herself as she always was bright happy & loving. how difficult & how sad are all these comparisons, & yet one cannot help perpetually having them before one

Elizabeth tells me of poor little Ettys suffering so much, & you must have felt a satisfaction in telling the poor little woman of her having been asked for.1 I think you will like to hear, as I did that Effie2 has felt more than I expected she would. Hannah tells me she cried much when she went to bed the night Eliz brought the sad news3 —& when she came to the door to meet us her face looked quite different, & manner—& she was crying again very soon after reading a letter from Shrewsbury about it. It gave me quite pleasure to see her feeling—indeed there is none of the Servants that knew her, that does not feel the loss you have had— It was like dear Eliz to send me her note of yesterday I wanted to hear about poor Brodie—& we shall soon see Fanny4 who will perhaps have seen you since—

I cannot bear to think on both your most tender Expressions about myself my dearest Charles & Emma—so undeserved as they are who cd have done otherwise, but it will make me feel happier the rest of my life that it so happened that I could be of use, & deserve the smallest part of such affectionate gratitude as I cannot dwell on— I was agreably surprised at finding all the children returned fr L. H.5 & am quite well now, the journey composed & rested me. It was such a great comfort H.6 coming down for me— I need not say if at any time you wd wish to see me for a few hours that I shd have the greatest comfort in coming at yr call—perhaps after yr confinement but whenever you feel an inclination— I shall send Charles some accounts by & bye Fanny is just come & does not go to Mrs S. Smith7 till Monday Thank my dear Eliz for her letter which I will ansr tomorrow

your most grateful | dearest Emma | F E W—

I have written to the Tollets—8


See letter to Emma Darwin, [21 April 1851], in which CD reported that Anne asked after Henrietta Darwin. For Emma’s notes on Henrietta in the months following Anne’s death, see Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix II.
On 25 April, Elizabeth Wedgwood collected Henrietta Darwin from Leith Hill Place, home of Caroline and Josiah Wedgwood III (Emma Darwin’s diary). Effie and the other children of Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood were also staying at Leith Hill and presumably first heard of Anne’s death from Elizabeth. Hannah, a servant of Fanny and Hensleigh Wedgwood, had taken Henrietta from Malvern to Leith Hill, via London, on 19 April (letter to Emma Darwin, [19 April 1851]).
Leith Hill (see n. 3, above).
Catherine Amelia Smith, widow of Sydney Smith, with whom Fanny Allen was going to stay in order to see the Great Exhibition (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 141).
The George Tollets of Betley Hall, Staffordshire, close friends of the Wedgwood and Darwin families.


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

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


Thoughts after the death of Anne.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Mackintosh/Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Wedgwood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Chester Terrace
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 37
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1424,” accessed on 30 May 2023,

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