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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Erasmus Darwin   [24 January 1861]


Thursday | 12o oclock

My dear William

The vomiting continued all yesterday till night, when it stopped & has not returned.1 But she has taken gigantic dose of Calomel which has not acted, so we continue uneasy; but Mr Williams who has been just here, considers her better.2 She eats absolutely nothing.—

I hope that your journey was prosperous & that you will, my dearest old fellow, enjoy yourself.—3 We shall be glad of a note.

Your affect | C. Darwin


After having experienced a period of good health (see letters to W. D. Fox, 9 January [1861], and to J. D. Hooker, 15 January [1861]), Henrietta Emma Darwin had again fallen seriously ill.
Edward Augustus Williams, a surgeon in Bromley, Kent, was the Darwins’ local physician. Emma Darwin’s diary records that he visited Down House on 2 January and again on 19 January 1861.
The cover of the letter is addressed to William in care of “Mrs Skipworth, Rothwell House Caistor, Lincolnshire”. Lucy Skipworth was the widowed mother of a friend of William’s from Christ’s College, Septimus Patrick Skipworth, whom he may have visited the previous summer (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to W. E. Darwin, [30 July 1860]).


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


Writes of Henrietta’s illness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
JA 24 61
Source of text
DAR 210.6: 61
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3051,” accessed on 2 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9