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.
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.