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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox   [6 May 1864]

Down Bromley | Kent


Dear Mr Fox

I wish we could have accepted your kind proposal of coming here1 but I must tell you how ill Charles has been since we were at Malvern.2 He has had almost daily vomiting for 6 months & it was becoming a great anxiety that it should be stopped. About 3 weeks ago Dr Jenner saw him for the 2nd time3 & he has succeeded in stopping the vomiting & he has been 3 weeks free from it, but I am afraid of the least exertion bringing it on till his stomach has more recovered its strength.

You know that the pleasure of seeing & talking with you wd be all the worse for him the more he enjoyed it at the time.

The day we saw you in London last spring4 has been almost the last time of his being tolerably well—

He is still in his room & goes to bed more than once in the day, but he walks out of doors & occupies himself a good deal with experiments with his flowers, so that tho’ his progress is very slow he does get on. I dare say you are enough of a Doctor to like to know what has done him so much good   It is small & very frequent doses of Chalk, Magnesia & Carbonate of Ammonia5   Charles desires me to give you his kind love—

I am my dear Mr Fox | Yours very sincerely | E. Darwin

Will you remember us both to Mrs Fox6


See letter from W. D. Fox, 5 [May 1864].
The Darwin family spent from 3 September to 12 or 13 October 1863 at Malvern Wells, Worcestershire, where CD and Horace Darwin took the water cure at the hydropathic establishment of James Smith Ayerst (see Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II).
William Jenner first visited CD on 20 March 1864; his second visit was on 10 April (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). See also letter from William Jenner to Emma Darwin, [17 March 1864] and n. 2, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April [1864].
CD stayed with Erasmus Alvey Darwin from 4 to 14 February 1863 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). CD and Fox met on 13 February (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from W. D. Fox, [11 February 1863]).
On the course of treatment prescribed by Jenner, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April [1864] and n. 6. Fox had taken a keen interest in CD’s health for many years (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 4, letter to W. D. Fox, [May 1850], and Colp 1977).
Ellen Sophia Fox.


Colp, Ralph, Jr. 1977. To be an invalid: the illness of Charles Darwin. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


CD has been so ill they must discourage visit by WDF. Recovering slowly with new treatment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
MY 6 64
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 143)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4487,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12