23-Apr-1851: The death of a daughter

Charles Darwin to Emma Darwin, 23rd April 1851:

My dear dearest Emma

I pray God Fanny’s note may have prepared you. She went to her final sleep most tranquilly, most sweetly at 12 oclock today. Our poor dear dear child has had a very short life but I trust happy, & God only knows what miseries might have been in store for her. She expired without a sigh. How desolate it makes one to think of her frank cordial manners. I am so thankful for the daguerreotype. I cannot remember ever seeing the dear child naughty. God bless her. We must be more & more to each other my dear wife— Do what you can to bear up & think how invariably kind & tender you have been to her.— I am in bed not very well with my stomach. When I shall return I cannot yet say. My own poor dear dear wife.

C. Darwin

Annie Darwin
Annie Darwin (1841–1851)

Darwin was writing from Dr James Gully’s hydropathic establishment in Great Malvern, Worcestershire, where he had taken his desperately ill, 10-year-old daughter, Annie, in the vain hope that she might make a recovery. The heavily pregnant Emma had had to remain at home.

Darwin’s references to God were surely calculated to comfort his devout wife.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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