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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Tyndall   27 December 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Dec 27 1874


My dear Tyndall

I know how deep an interest you feel in Lady Lubbock, & I believe that you are more likely to be able to influence her than any other person. Mr Birkbeck called here yesterday & said he thought she was dying, as she eats nothing; but I think this is too gloomy a view—1

She is attended only by Dr Erasmus Wilson, who, some time ago, said he was puzzled by her case. Mr B. has tried to persuade her to see some other Dr; but she answered it wd only send her to her grave so much the sooner. He seemed rather huffed at Sir John, & said it was of no use speaking to him again. Now I believe diet, restriction of stimulants &c, will alone save her. Therefore I further believe that Dr Andrew Clark, who does not trust in physic, but has the great art, of compelling his patients to obey him, would be the best man.2 If you agree with me, & can do any thing, I am sure you will be anxious to do so. I feel sure that my intervention ought in no way to appear—

I ought to add that Mr B. thought that Sir John is now thoroughly alarmed, but has no influence over her—

yours very sincerely. | Ch. Darwin


Ellen Frances Lubbock, the wife of CD’s neighbour at Down, John Lubbock, was in poor health for years before her death in 1879. Robert Birkbeck was the husband of John Lubbock’s sister, Mary Harriet. See also letter from Emma Darwin to J. B. Innes, 12 October [1874].
CD had been treated by Clark since 1873 (see Correspondence vol. 21).


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


Asks JT to persuade Lady Lubbock to change physicians and put herself in the care of Andrew Clark. Thinks this alone will save her.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Tyndall
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.8: 22 (EH 88205960)
Physical description
LS(A) 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9784,” accessed on 30 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22