RECORD: Litchfield, H. E. 1887.03.18. [Recollections of Darwin's health.] CUL-DAR112.A79-A82 (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker 8.2008. RN1

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.


[in another handwriting] H E Lichtfield

[printed letterhead] 31, Kensington Square. W.

6, [Nustyn] Terrace

Mar. 18. 87

Dear Frank,

Mother is very strong. How much better his health was the last ten years of his life. She said that she did not think he ever had a very distressing fit of sickness. Two low-water years were 49 & 63. Also the summer when he was correcting animals

[79 verso]

& plants was very bad & I think Climbing Plants observations summer was very bad. He was[illeg]unwell when the last edit of Coral Reefs was going thro' the press & when Orchids was going thro's the press. I think Mother thinks simply to say that his health was very much


better. She says he had much less distressing symptoms & that he kept much steadier to his work. In the summer of 63 for the first time he had loss of memory (mother says I am wrong as to this) & Mother told me, so as to be prepared, that an epileptic fit was to be feared, but Mother wd not like either of these said in the book. About Dr Clark she says he did him gt good. She considers Bence Jones & Clark

[80 verso]

were the two that did him good & she wd like some sentence of this. Also put in, that Dr Clarks personality was always cheering to him & his friendship & kindness to him & his children a great pleasure to him. She says Andrew Clark did him "great good". About the last illness I think she thinks, you must


[printed letterhead] 31, Kensington Square. W.

say he consulted Dr Clark who reassured him about the state of his heart, leaving out all question of his great mistake in this opinion. She says that she thinks Father had a happier winter for being reassured & that as they were

[81 verso]

very cautious, no one can be sure his life was shortened & that she did not wish him to live without working. I mean if it was a condition of his living, that he shd do no work, she was willing for him to die.


The summer I was married was a bad one. When we were at Haledene, I don't think he was ever but once nearly so unwell. About a couple of years afterwards I remember being made uncomfortable by one account sent abroad

[82 verso]

but broadly speaking you could say the last ten years of his life were very much better.
R. shall do your commission as to West Abbey.

Your affect.

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