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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).


Reports on Anne’s illness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.13: 9
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1400,” accessed on 19 February 2019,

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