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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [1 July 1841]


My dear Titty.

I will give you categorical account, and first for my old beggarly self.— I was pretty brisk at first, but about four became bad & shivery—wh’ ended in sharp headache, & disordered stomach, (but was not sick) & was very uncomfortable in bed till ten.— I was very very desolate & forlorn without my own Titty’s sympathy & missed you cruelly.— But to day I am pretty brisk & enjoy myself.— I think my Father looking rather altered & aged, though he & the two old chicks appear very well, & charmingly affectionate to me. Doddy’s reception of me was quite affecting— He sat on my knee for nearly a quarter of an hour, gave me some sweet kisses, & sniggered & looked at my face & pointing told every one I was pappa.— Everybody seems to like him,—they say he is so meek & good.— When I had had him for about five minutes,—I asked him, where was Mama, & he repeated your name twice in so low & plaintive a tone, I declare, it almost made me burst out crying— He is full of admiration at this new house & is friends with everyone & sits on grandpapa’s knees— He shows me the different things in the house.— Dear old Doddy one could write for ever about him

I am grieved to hear my Father, who is kindness itself to him, thinks he looks a very delicate child— He says the cough proceeds from the stomach; but he cannot feel any hardness in it & he has felt it well.— He thinks the iron & chalk of the greatest consequence to him, but decidedly injurious if his bowels are not fully opened— He says he has no doubt the rhubarb in the cakes has been injured by the baking— I am most glad we sent him here— I have picked up even already many hints— he particularly wishes him to have plenty of meat.— & I felt quite ashamed, at finding out, what I presume you did not know anymore than I did, that he has had half a cup of cream every morning—which my Father (who seemed rather annoyed) says he believes is one of the most injurious things we could have given him— When we are at home, we shall be able to look more after him.— Only conceive Susan found him when he started in the carriage with his stocking & shoes half wet through.— My Father says getting his feet wet on the grass if afterwards changed is rather a good than bad thing, but to allow him to start on a journey in that state was risking his health— Last night Susan went into Doddy’s room & found no water by his bed-side— I tell you all these disagreeablenesses; that you may feel the sam⁠⟨⁠e⁠⟩⁠ necessity, that I do, of our own selves look⁠⟨⁠ing⁠⟩⁠ & not trusting anything about our children to others— I most heartily pray my Father may make poor dear Doddy look more robust & lose his cough.—1

He has been calling you this morning so prettily dear little Soul.— My dear old Titty, I do hope you are pretty comfortable this day—my poor old soul, you have had a wretched time of it, this last month— I hope & suppose I shall hear tomorrow about your self & little Kitty Kumplings,2 who, as I have several times remarked to myself, is not so bad a girl, as might be expected of Doddy’s rival.— Give my kindest love to Elizabeth and to Uncle Jos & Aunt Bessy.—

Good Bye my dear old Titty— Right glad I shall be to see you on Tuesday. Your affectionate | C. D.


Prescriptions for CD and his family were recorded in a ‘Receipts’ book, transcribed in Colp 1977. In 1843 Robert Waring Darwin wrote a long ‘Prescription for Willy’ which reiterates the suggestions here (Colp 1977, p. 152).
Anne Elizabeth Darwin, born 2 March 1841.


Colp, Ralph, Jr. 1977. To be an invalid: the illness of Charles Darwin. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.


Family news. Mainly concerned about Doddy’s [W. E. Darwin’s] health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.8: 16
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 600,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2