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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   24 [March 1849]

The Lodge | Malvern


My dear Fox

As you took such very kind interest about me, & as I owe to so considerable extent my expedition to you, I must report progress. We came here this day fortnight & have got a very comfortable house, with a little field & wood opening on to the mountain, capital for the children to play in.—1 We shall stay here at least 2 months, ie to latter end or middle or possibly only to early part of May.— I much like & think highly of Dr. Gully. He has been very cautious in his treatment & has even, had the charity to stint me only to six pinches of snuff daily.— Cold scrubbing in morning, 2 cold feet bath & compress on stomach is as yet the only treatment, besides change of diet &c.— I am, however to commence tomorrow a sweating process.— I am already certainly stronger & perhaps my stomach somewhat better. I was in a much shattered condition before coming here; my hands were becoming tremulous & head often swimming.— I expect fully that the system will greatly benefit me, & certainly the regular Doctors cd. do nothing.

We have a spare bed-room & shd be delighted to see you here, but I shd enjoy your visit more towards latter half of April, when I hope to be stronger & less absorbed with my eternal [short], walks bathings &c. all of which make me excessively tired in evening so that I am forced to go to bed at 812. The only disagreeable part as yet to me, has been the excessive irritation of skin which comes on every evening over whole body.—so that I cannot sit quiet one minute after six or seven oclock.— This no doubt will before long go off. Have you ever been here? It is a curious & nice place & in summer must be very pretty; we have had half our time foggy or hazy, but most fortunate in not having had any rain: I do hope you will come, & that you will find me a ruddy strong man. We have all our servants & governess here.—

My dear Fox | Yours most sincerely | C. Darwin


Most of the patients being treated at Gully’s establishment lodged in private houses in Malvern. The two residences actually associated with the hydropathic establishment were reserved for patients only and families could not stay there (Metcalfe 1906, pp. 69–70; Jenkins 1974, p. 7).


Jenkins, Elizabeth. 1974. Tennyson and Dr Gully. Lincoln: The Tennyson Society.

Metcalfe, Richard. 1906. The rise and progress of hydropathy in England and Scotland. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.


Reports progress with water-cure. Describes the treatment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 73)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1235,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4