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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Emma Darwin   [18 April 1851]



4 oclock. There is no material change, but she appears much prostrated.— I will send another line before Post closes, if I see Dr. Gully—

12. oclock. I have left a space above for last account.—1 Dr. Gully slept here last night & is most kind.— After I wrote her pulse ceased to intermit & that encouraged Dr. Gully a little: before that, when I wrote he did not think she wd. last out the night.— To day, he says she is no worse, & at present (12) this is the best which can be said. She does not suffer thank God.— It is much bitterer & harder to bear than I expected— Your note made me cry much—but I must not give way & can avoid doing so, by not thinking about her. It is now from hour to hour a struggle between life & death. God only knows the issue. She has been very quiet all morning, but vomited badly at 6 A.M. which, however bad, shows she has more vital force than during two previous days. Sometimes Dr. G. exclaims she will get through the struggle; then, I see, he doubts.— Oh my own it is very bitter indeed.— God preserve & cherish you.— Her one good point is her pulse, now regular & not very weak, excepting for this there would be no hope. We give her spoonfuls of gruel with brandy every half hour.—

1 oclock. The Dr. repeats what he said, “she is not worse”:—3 oclock,— she keeps the same, quite easy, but I grieve to say she has vomited a large quantity of bright green fluid.— Her case seems to me an exaggerated one of my Maer illness.—2 We must hope against hope.

My own poor dear unhappy wife | C. D.


The last account consists of the two sentences at the head of the letter, ‘4 oclock … Dr. Gully—’.
CD had fallen seriously ill at Maer on 4 August 1840 and had not returned home until 14 November (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix II).


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


Reports on Anne’s illness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 9
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1400,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

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