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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. C. Donders1   17 May 1870

Utrecht,

17 Mai | 1870

Dear Sir,

Je sens maintenant que j’aurais dû vous donner la triste nouvelle de la perte de notre fille, notre unique enfant, l’objet et le centre de notre vie, notre bonheur et notre espoir. Elle est décedée le 5 du mois de Mars, 5 Jours seulement après avoir donné la vie à deux enfans, qui, quoique bien faibles, lui ont survécu jusqu’ici.2 Nous vivons dans une tristesse qui semble ne pouvoir plus finir, et autant que mon gendre bien-aimé, le Docteur Engelmann,3 J’ai eu de la peine à rentrer dans le laboratoire et à vaquer à nos occupations. Déjà dans les deux derniers mois de la grossesse, notre fille était téllement souffrante, que nous vivions dans une inquiétude continuelle. Sans cela le petit travail que vous m’aviez fait l’honneur de me confièr, aurait été terminé depuis long-temps. Pourtant je venais justement d’y remettre la main, et vous le recevrez dans peu de jours. J’ai examiné avec quelque soin la circulation de l’oeil, et il ne me faut qu’un peu de disposition pour finir ma note à ce sujet que je desire publier dans mon Journal: en général je crois pouvoir confirmer les vues de Sir Charles Bell.4 Le Docteur Moore5 vous enverra la traduction anglaise de cet article. Quant à l’autre question, je ne pense pas que le rapport supposé existe.6 Dans ma lettre suivante, je formulerai ma reponse. Soyez sûr de l’avoir en mains dans 8 Jours après la reception de celle-ci, et avant ce temps Mr. Moore aura reçu un exemplaire imprimé de mon article sur la première question.

Veuillez agréer l’assurance de mon respect et de mon affection, | Dear Sir, | Votre bien devoué | Donders

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 18, Appendix I.
Donders’s daughter was Marie Engelmann; his wife was Ernestine J. A. Donders. The two babies have not been identified.
Theodor Wilhelm Engelmann.
CD had asked Donders questions about the contraction of the muscles around the eye, and about Charles Bell’s account of the physiology of weeping (see letter to F. C. Donders, 13 May [1870] and n. 2). Donders refers to the Nederlandsch Lancet, of which he was editor (DSB).
William Daniel Moore.
Donders refers to CD’s query regarding the possibility of contraction of the muscles around the eyes producing tears (see letter to F. C. Donders, 13 May [1870], and Correspondence vol. 17, letter to F. C. Donders, 6 September 1869 and n. 3).

Translation

From F. C. Donders1   17 May 1870

Utrecht,

17 May | 1870

Dear Sir,

I now feel that I ought to have given you the sad news of the loss of our daughter, our only child, the object and the centre of our life, our happiness and our hope. She died on 5th March, just 5 Days after having given birth to two babies, who, though very weak, have survived her up to now.2 We are living with a sorrow which it seems can never end, and just like my much-loved son-in-law, Doctor Engelmann,3 I have found it hard to return to the laboratory and to attend to our occupations. In the last two months of her pregnancy, our daughter was already suffering so much that we lived in constant apprehension. But for this the small piece of work you did me the honour of confiding to me, would have been finished long since. However, I have just turned my hand to it once more, and you will have it in a few days. I have examined the circulation of the eye with some care, and all I am lacking is the inclination to finish my note on this subject, which I want to publish in my Journal: in general I believe I can confirm the views of Sir Charles Bell.4 Doctor Moore5 will send you the English translation of this article. As for the other question, I don’t think that the supposed relationship exists.6 In my next letter, I shall formulate my reply. You may be certain of having it in hand within a week of receiving this one, and by then Mr. Moore will have received a printed copy of my article on the first question.

Please accept the assurance of my respect and affection, | Dear Sir, | Your most devoted | Donders

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see p. 121.
Donders’s daughter was Marie Engelmann; his wife was Ernestine J. A. Donders. The two babies have not been identified.
Theodor Wilhelm Engelmann.
CD had asked Donders questions about the contraction of the muscles around the eye, and about Charles Bell’s account of the physiology of weeping (see letter to F. C. Donders, 13 May [1870] and n. 2). Donders refers to the Nederlandsch Lancet, of which he was editor (DSB).
William Daniel Moore.
Donders refers to CD’s query regarding the possibility of contraction of the muscles around the eyes producing tears (see letter to F. C. Donders, 13 May [1870], and Correspondence vol. 17, letter to F. C. Donders, 6 September 1869 and n. 3).

Summary

The illness and death of his daughter have delayed his answers to CD’s queries. He has, however, worked on the circulation of the eye and has almost finished a paper on it, which he will send to CD. In general, the views of Charles Bell are confirmed.

As for CD’s second query, he doubts that the relationship exists, but will answer fully in next letter.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7141
From
Frans Cornelis (Franciscus Cornelius) Donders
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Utrecht
Source of text
DAR 162: 224
Physical description
4pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7141,” accessed on 24 May 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7141

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18

letter