RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [reminiscence of Darwin Charles Waring] "Our poor baby". [1858] CUL-DAR210.13.42. Transcribed by John van Wyhe. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe 2015. RN1

NOTE: Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


Our poor Baby was born Decr 6th 1856 & died on June 28th 1858, & was therefore above 18 months old. He was small for his age & backward in walking & talking, but intelligent & observant. When crawling naked on the floor he looked very elegant. He had never been ill, & cried less than any of our babies. He was of a remarkably sweet, placid & joyful disposition; but had not high spirits, & did not laugh much. He often made strange grimaces & shivered, when excited; but did so, also, for a joke & his little eyes used to glisten, after pouting out or stretching widely his little lips. He used sometimes to move his mouth as if talking loudly, but making no noise, & this he did when very happy. He was particularly fond of standing on one of my hands, & being tossed in then air: & then he always smiled, & made a little pleased noise. I had just taught him to kiss me with open mouth, when I told him.


He would lie for a long time placidly on my lap looking with a steady & pleased expression at my face; sometimes trying to poke his poor little fingers into my mouth, or making nice little bubbling noises as I moved his chin. I had taught him not to scratch, but when I said "Giddlums never scratches now" he could not always resist a little grab, & then he would look at me with a wicked little smile. He would play for any length of time on the sofa, letting himself fall suddenly, & looking over his shoulder to see that I was ready. He was very affectionate, & had a passion for Parslow; & it was very pretty to see his extreme eagerness, with outstreched arms, to get to him. Our poor little darling's short life has been placid innocent & joyful. I think & trust he did not suffer so much at last, as he appeared to do; but the last 36 hours were miserable beyond expression. In the sleep of Death he resumed his placid looks.

(July 2d 1858.)

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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