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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   29 April [1851]

Down Farnborough Kent

Apr 29th.

My dear Fox

I do not suppose you will have heard of our bitter & cruel loss. Poor dear little Annie, when going on very well at Malvern, was taken with a vomiting attack, which was at first thought of the smallest importance, but it rapidly assumed the form of a low & dreadful fever, which carried her off in 10 days.— Thank God she suffered hardly at all, & expired as tranquilly as a little angel.— Our only consolation is, that she passed a short, though joyous life.— She was my favourite child; her cordiality, openness, buoyant joyousness & strong affection made her most loveable.1 Poor dear little soul. Well it is all over. My dear Emma supports herself admirably & is calm & courageous.— It was a severe aggravation that Emma could not possibly join me in nursing our darling: she almost daily expects her confinement.

I have not yet thanked you for your most kind & interesting letter of the 10th. I most truly hope that your health is better.

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin

Footnotes

On 30 April, a week after Anne’s death, CD wrote a memorial (see Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix II) in order that ‘in after-years, if we live, the impressions now put down will recall more vividly her chief characteristics.’ Later, when writing about Anne’s death, Henrietta Litchfield stated that ‘it may almost be said that my mother never really recovered from this grief. She very rarely spoke of Annie, but when she did the sense of loss was always there unhealed. My father could not bear to reopen his sorrow, and he never, to my knowledge, spoke of her.’ (Emma Darwin 2: 137). For an analysis of the effect of Anne’s death on CD, see Colp 1987 and Moore 1989.

Summary

His favourite child, Anne, has unexpectedly died.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-1425
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 79)
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1425,” accessed on 19 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-1425.xml

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

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