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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   23 [April 1861]



My dear Hooker

I am much pained to think of poor dear Henslow’s state.1 I will write again this evening on indifferent subjects.2 I write now only to say that if Henslow, you thought, would really like to see me, I would of course start at once. The thought had once occurred to me to offer, & the sole reason why I did not was that the journey with the agitation would cause me probably to arrive utterly prostrated.

I shd. be certain to have severe vomiting afterwards, but that would not much signify, but I doubt whether I could stand the agitation at the time. I never felt my weakness a greater evil. I have just had specimen for I spoke a few minutes at Linn. Soc on Thursday & though extra well, it brought on 24 hours vomiting.3 I suppose there is some Inn at which I could stay, for I shd not like to be in the House (even if you could hold me) as my retching is apt to be extremely loud.—

I shd. never forgive myself, if I did not instantly come, if Henslow’s wish to see me was more than a passing thought.

My dear old friend | Your affect | C. Darwin

P.S. Judge for me: I have stated exact truth: but remember that I shd. never forgive myself, if I disappointed the most fleeting wish of my master & friend to whom I owe so much.—


Hooker was in Hitcham, Suffolk, at the bedside of his father-in-law John Stevens Henslow, who was seriously ill.
See letter to to J. D. Hooker, 23 [April 1861].
CD went to London on 16 April 1861 and attended a meeting of the Linnean Society of London on Thursday, 18 April. On 19 April, Emma Darwin recorded in her diary: ‘Ch. poorly in London’.


Offers to go to Henslow despite his own poor health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 98
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3125,” accessed on 17 October 2021,

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