Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Darwin's Illness$

Ralph Colp Jr.

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032313

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032313.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use (for details see http://www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy). Subscriber: null; date: 20 March 2018

Moving to Down and Developing a “Profoundly Tranquil” Routine of Work, Rest, and Walks Around the Sandwalk

Moving to Down and Developing a “Profoundly Tranquil” Routine of Work, Rest, and Walks Around the Sandwalk

(p.31) 5. Moving to Down and Developing a “Profoundly Tranquil” Routine of Work, Rest, and Walks Around the Sandwalk
Darwin's Illness

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

University Press of Florida

Abstract and Keywords

Charles Darwin believed that possessing Down House gave him several advantages in terms of health and work. This is where he would live for the remaining forty years of his life. In addition to meeting individually with Joseph Hooker and other friends and acquaintances here, Darwin participated in a number of meetings of scientific organizations. In 1846, he had created the sandwalk, a 1.5-acre strip of land which he planted with trees and circled with a sandy path. This became his favorite walking place, although he would also sometimes walk on some of Down's many other footpaths. These walks also became a daily ritual of exercising and thinking that he forced himself to go through even when the weather was bad or when he felt weak. During his first six years at Down, he described himself as being in “a profoundly tranquil state”, and living “like clock work... in what most people would consider the dullest possible manner”. In these six years, his work was only seriously interrupted on one occasion because of a severe episode of boils.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Down House, sandwalk, profoundly tranquil state, walks, exercising, thinking, work

In his September 1841 letter to Fox, Darwin wrote that he and Emma were planning to move from London and were in the “turmoil” of searching for a country house in which to live. Some of the reasons for this change in living were the need for more space in which to raise a growing family and Darwin's enjoyment of being in the country. “I long to be settled in ‘pure air,’” he told Fox, “out of all the dirt, noise, vice & misery of this great Wen [London].”1

Several individuals had formed his belief in the goodness of “pure” country air. Doctors Holland and Clark, who had previously urged him to live in the country, both held this belief.2 Clark had stated that a change from city to country ameliorated many diseases, including “dyspepsia and various nervous disorders,” and that London's air was a “destructive malady … justly termed Cachexia Londinensis, which preys upon the vitals and stamps its hues upon the countenance of almost every permanent resident in this large city.”3 (This term reflected the prevailing idea that many disorders were caused by miasmas in the air arising from decaying organic matter, especially from decaying human excrement in London's sewers.)4 Emma, who had an “inclination” for living in the country, thought that London's air had a “bad effect” on the development of her son's speech.5 Dr. Erasmus Darwin had written that air was “nutritious” and that “constant immersion in pure air is now known to contribute much both to the health of the system, and to the beautiful color of the complexion.”6 Dr. Robert Darwin most likely held similar views.

From the fall of 1841 to the summer of 1842, Darwin and Emma's search for a suitable country house was “fruitless,” and they were disappointed when they (p.32) were unable to acquire a beautiful house at Woking called “The Hermitage.”7 In July 1842, they first visited Down House and its estate of eighteen acres, near the village of Down (Downe today) in Kent. In a letter to his father and sisters, Darwin expressed strong feelings of pleasure for the house and its environs: “On the road to the village, on fine day scenery absolutely beautiful. … The charm of the place to me is that almost every field is intersected … by one or more foot-paths—I never saw so many walks in any other country—The country is extraordinarily rural & quiet with narrow lanes & high hedges & hardly any ruts—It is really surprising to think London is only 16 miles off.” Although Emma was first “a good deal disappointed” in Down (her opinion would later change), she took pleasure in doing what gave her husband pleasure. In August he purchased Down House and estate for the sum of £2,200, advanced him against his inheritance by his father.8

For him, possessing Down meant several advantages for health and work: having pleasures of varied country walks and varied country scenery and being separated from the demands of society and from London's polluted air, dirt, and noise. Since Down was near London, he could easily visit the city's scientific institutions and scientific men.9

From 14 to 17 September 1842, he and his family moved to Down, where he would live for the remaining forty years of his life. During the move, Emma had suffered much from the third trimester of her third pregnancy, and on 23 September, she gave birth to Mary Eleanor, who lived only three weeks and was buried on 19 October in the churchyard of Down's parish church.10 After the burial, Emma told a relative: “Our sorrow is nothing to what it would have been if she had lived longer and suffered more. Charles is well today and the funeral over, which he dreaded very much.” She added, “It will be long indeed before either of us forget that poor little face.”11

Two days before Mary Eleanor died, Darwin had distracted himself by writing about volcanic islands, the second volume of the geology of the Beagle voyage. Occupying himself with scientific work would become one of his main defenses against distressing events.12 Two months after Mary's death, he expressed positive thoughts about Down and his family to Fox: “Our removal has answered very well; our two little souls are better & happier—which likewise applies to me & to my good old wife.”13 He was also pleased that Emma had made a quicker recovery from her third pregnancy than from her two previous pregnancies, which he attributed to “country air.”14

Within a year after settling in Down, he started making a number of changes in house and grounds that were financed by loans from his father, including (p.33) building a wall to create privacy in part of the house that was exposed to another man's field (he had told his father and Susan that “the publicity of the place at present is intolerable”); altering old rooms and building new rooms for his servants, children, and wife (Emma was again pregnant); and making what he called the house's “Capital study” into his own study for reading, writing, microscopy, and dissecting.15

A study with an armchair in one corner, between fireplace and windows, tables close by, an alcove for books and folios containing notes, with pictures on the wall of Lyell, his father, and two grandfathers. In one curtained off corner was a “personal privy” containing water, bowls and towels, where, when his flatulence increased, he could retire and retch. Between two windows was a small mirror that enabled him to see visitors approaching the front door. In the hall he kept a jar of snuff, which had become an essential stimulant for his work. In 1846, when Emma persuaded him to leave off snuff for a month, he became “most lethargic, stupid & melancholy in consequence,” and he had to go back on it.16

In December 1843, he began to correspond about his still largely unexamined Beagle plant collections with Joseph Hooker, a rising young botanist and son of Sir William Hooker, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. In a letter dated 11 January 1844, Darwin revealed that he had recently developed a theory of evolution: “I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a ‘tendency to progression’ ‘adaptations from the slow willing of animals’ &c, but the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his—though the means of change are wholly so—I think I have found out (here's presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends.”17 In making this revelation he was motivated by hopes and fears. He hoped that sharing his theory with Hooker would gain him information on his Beagle plants and their geographical distribution that would support the theory. He feared that Hooker would judge the theory as if he were “confessing a murder.” He enclosed these last words in parentheses, as he would do with other statements expressing truths that were painful but that he had to confront. With the parentheses he was perhaps trying to circumscribe and wall off his pain.18 For him, “confessing a murder” expressed most immediately and directly his fear that—in the ideological climate of his time—his theory would be viewed with an opprobrium equivalent to that attached to murder.

Hooker replied to Darwin in a letter that remained silent about “confessing (p.34) a murder,” while stating a belief in separate creations of species, along with “a gradual change of species,” and then added, “I shall be delighted to hear how you think that this change may have taken place, as no presently conceived opinions satisfy me on the subject.” Throughout 1844, Darwin pressed Hooker with questions about a steadily increasing range of botanical subjects. Hooker sent him detailed replies that drew on information from scientific friends and on Kew Garden's plants and books. “Your queries & remarks,” Hooker wrote him in April, “have opened a wide field for research & investigation, for which I am truly obliged. These are all subjects, which I ought to have attended to, without requiring to be reminded of them by a more industrious Naturalist.”19

From February through July 1844, after completing the geological volume on Volcanic Islands, Darwin enlarged the 1842 abstract of his evolutionary theory into a longer and more coherent essay that was suitable for reading by others. On 5 July, the day he finished the essay, he wrote Emma a letter stating that if the theory were to be accepted “by one competent judge” it would “be a considerable step in science,” and that it was necessary to make plans for preserving transmutation ideas in the event of his “sudden death.” He was probably thinking of his fear of dying from heart disease or perhaps from a fever, and of the sudden deaths of friends and relatives.20

In his letter he first instructed Emma to devote £400 to posthumously publishing the essay, to promote his notes and annotated books, and to have her brother Hensleigh Wedgwood aid her.21 After anxiously considering, and reconsidering, who among several scientific colleagues might best do this work, he tentatively wrote in a postscript to the letter, “Lyell, especially with the aid of Hooker (& of any good zoological aid) would be best of all.”22 While it has been held that the letter to Emma was an attempt to avoid responsibility for publishing controversial ideas, a more plausible view is that it was the effort of a man, facing the possibility of premature death, to assert his priority in originating these ideas.23

On 14 July, Darwin wrote Hooker a note announcing that he planned to visit the latter at Kew Gardens on Thursday morning at about 10 a.m. on 18 July. At the end of the note he wrote: “As my health is always extremely uncertain, you must not be surprised if I fail: if I am not with you before eleven, you will understand that my health is to blame.” In this instance, he was able to have a first meeting with Hooker, whom he described afterwards to Lyell as a “most engaging young man.” On the weekend of 7 December, Hooker visited him at Down.24 Over the following years, Hooker became Darwin's intellectual (p.35) confidant, although he continued to believe in “immutability” of species and was not impressed by the ideas of the 1844 essay when Darwin gave it to him to read.25

Like Darwin, Hooker had trained to be a physician and had experienced psychosomatic symptoms. As a result of giving a public talk, he suffered from “violent palpitation,” “physical nausea,” and “severe nervous reaction.” Doctors had told him that he had a “slight disease” of the heart and that he “need not expect ever to attain a freedom in public delivery.”26 He soon developed a sympathetic interest in the nature and course of Darwin's illness. Darwin responded to this, and in March 1845 wrote Hooker: “You are very kind in your enquiries about my health; I have nothing to say about it, being always much the same, some days better & some worse.—I believe I have not had one whole day or rather night, without my stomach having been greatly disordered, during the last three years, & most days great prostration of strength: thank you for your kindness, many of my friends, I believe, think me a hypocondriac [sic].” He was mainly describing the day and night fluctuations of flatulence, which resulted in “prostration of strength” because of their pains and interference with sleep.27

In June 1845, Darwin reported to Hooker that he had been working too hard and had “some unwellness.” Hooker, impressed by the contrast between Darwin's chronic day and night illness and his own occasional illness, then replied: “I am sorry to hear that you have been still suffering a little. I would willingly take a little bad health (temporarily only) to let you work a bit in comfort, you do so richly deserve a little peaceful working.” Hooker would become, along with Fox, Darwin's medical confidant.28

From 1844 through 1847, Darwin on several occasions invited Hooker to visit him for several days at Down. During these visits it was Darwin's established rule that on every morning, for about twenty minutes after breakfast, he would “pump” Hooker (as he called it) with long lists of queries that Hooker described as “botanical, geographical &c,” which Hooker would then answer.29 Hooker recollected:

These morning interviews were followed by his [Darwin's] taking a complete rest, for they always exhausted him, often producing a buzzing noise in the head, and sometimes what he called “stars in the eyes,” the latter too often the prelude of an attack of violent eczema in the head during which he was hardly recognizable. These attacks were followed by a period of what with him was the nearest approach to health, and always to (p.36) activity. Shortly before lunch I used to hear his mellow voice under my window, summoning me to walk with him. … This walk was repeated in the afternoon; on both these occasions his conversation was delightful, animated. It turned naturally on the scenes we had witnessed in faraway regions and anecdotes of our seafaring lives [Hooker had made a voyage to Antarctica], and on discoveries in science.30

It seems likely that Darwin's attacks of “violent eczema” were psychosomatic symptoms caused by a controversy with Hooker over “questions botanical geographical.” Whereas he was influenced by his theory to believe that species of plants had been able to migrate across oceans from their lands of origin, so as to settle new lands and attain their present geographical distributions, Hooker, the nonbeliever in natural selection, questioned whether migration was a “sufficient agent” to explain these distributions.31 While the controversy went on without being resolved, Darwin's attacks of eczema stopped when he stopped talking with Hooker about controversial topics. Because Hooker gave him facts—and Darwin's main purpose was to accumulate facts bearing on natural selection—Darwin persisted in his morning talks and braved having the attacks of eczema.

After several years of communicating with Hooker, he felt the shortcomings of his scientific knowledge and wrote his young friend: “How painfully (to me) true is your remark that no one has hardly a right to examine the question of species who has not minutely described many.”32 In October 1846, after finishing Geological Observations on South America (the third and last volume of his Beagle geology), instead of further developing his 1844 essay, he began to workon classifying barnacles.33

At this time, he suffered from criticisms of his Glen Roy theory. In 1847, David Milne published a paper postulating that the roads of Glen Roy had been formed not by the sea or glacial lakes (as had been propounded by Darwin and Agassiz) but by lakes formed by dams of “detrital matter.” After reading this paper, Darwin confided to Hooker: “I have been bad enough for these few last days, having had to think & write too much about Glen Roy (an audacious son of dog, Mr. Milne) having attacked my theory which made me horribly sick.” There was then a discussion on Glen Roy, and Darwin told Hooker that “the confounded subject has made me sick twice.”34 He recognized the force of the arguments against his Glen Roy theory, yet persisted in believing in it. One reason for his persistence was deep commitment to his theory that the formation of Glen Roy's parallel roads had been part of past eras of global upheaval (p.37) and subsidence.35 Over the next fourteen years the subject of Glen Roy would continue to cause him uncertainty, anxiety, and perhaps further episodes of vomiting.36

In addition to meeting individually with Hooker and other friends and acquaintances, Darwin participated in meetings of scientific organizations. For several years (fortnightly, or for every three weeks) he regularly attended London meetings of the Council of the Geological Society as well as meetings of the Royal Geographical Society and Royal Society, even though traveling to and from London (by coach and train) greatly fatigued him, and attending scientific meetings was a strain on his health even when he did not speak. Thus when an acquaintance asked him to take the chair of a natural history meeting, he refused, explaining: “Very little fatigue, or excitement or anxiety (of which I shd. have plenty) almost invariably brings on so much swimming of the head, nausea, & other symptoms, that the effort of sitting for 2 or 3 (or even less) [hours] in a public chair would be quite intolerable to me.” After attending London meetings, he was able to refresh himself by sojourning in the London home of brother Erasmus.37

In June 1847, making plans to attend the Oxford meeting of the British Association, and with no familiar home to reside in, he arranged by correspondence with Hooker to be allowed to stay alone and dine alone in the home of Hooker's uncle, “for as you know, my odious stomach requires that” and “what a ridiculous fuss I do make about my precious self.” During his sojourn at Oxford, while he refused to dine outside of his own room because of fear of being knocked up, he enjoyed listening to organ music at Oxford's New Chapel. His health remained well, and on returning home to Down he was “extra well.”38

On two occasions he hosted weekend meetings at Down for the purpose of having scientific talks. In December 1845, he conversed with Hooker and two other colleagues, had no health disturbances, and later told Hooker he enjoyed “all our raging discussions.”39 On 12–15 February 1848, his thirty-ninth birthday, he arranged a meeting with Lyell, Mrs. Lyell, and three other colleagues. The conversation was convivial, and one guest reported how there was a “nice cosy chat … before and after dinner.” However, three days after the last guest left, Darwin suffered a belated reaction to the meeting, consisting of three days of vomiting, headache, and depression. What caused him to be well and then ill on each of these occasions is not known.40

Anticipating a visitor could also be stressful to him. In June 1847, Bernhard Studer, a professor of geology in Switzerland, wrote him about making a geological tour of England early in August and requesting that they meet. In July, (p.38) apprehensive over the meeting, yet unable to refuse it, Darwin wrote Studer about his infirmities:

Shortly after my return from my long voyage, I had a tedious & severe illness, & have never since recovered my strength & suppose I never shall. … I appear quite well, but from being a strong man, I am become incapable of any continued muscular exertion; or indeed of much exertion of mind, for even conversation, if it excites me, tires me in a very short time, so that I am compelled to live a most retired life. … I must apologise for troubling you with so many particulars about myself, but I thought it better to forwarn you that I am incapable of being of much service.

On 12 August, he told Hooker that “the foreigner [Studer] has not appeared, deuce take him” and that his stomach had been “wretchedly bad” for a week. The next day, Studer wrote him from London, and the two met at Down on 16 August, without any apparent serious upset in Darwin's health. Two days later, he wrote Hooker: “My stomach is extra well, & as I have had an extra long bad batch [of stomach illness], I have little fears of failing.” On 20 and 21 August, he had an “enjoyable” two-day visit with Hooker at Kew.41

While conversation with scientific acquaintances varied greatly in their impacts on his health, he would frequently tell visitors that such conversations were health hazards, and his fear of these conversations became one of his strongest and most lasting fears and one of the main differences between his illness and the illnesses of his friends and acquaintances.

During his first six years of living at Down, when he was not traveling, he developed a routine in which he divided every day into periods when he did scientific work—he worked for one to one and a half hours at a time, in the early morning, late morning, afternoon, and early evening—and periods when he rested from science by doing various mental and physical activities.

One of his most frequent nonscientific activities was listening to Emma read three to four times a day, for about an hour each time. They shared similar tastes in books of history, biography, travels in foreign lands, and in novels. Reading a novel caused Darwin to experience what he described as “a wonderful relief and pleasure.” He eagerly entered into the novel's unfolding plot, insisting that the ending not be revealed until the reading of the novel was finished and hoping it would be a happy ending. He would discuss, with Emma and their family, the charms and attributes of the novel's heroine. His daughter recollected that he was “often in love with the heroines of the many novels that were read to him,” (p.39) and he would imagine that some heroines were more beautiful than they were actually portrayed. Sometimes, during his afternoon reading period, a novel that at first stimulated him would relax him so he would briefly fall asleep.42

The one nonscientific reading he did by himself was the Times. Every day he read through it for its reports on topics that included news events, debates in parliament, law cases he had become interested in following, and movements in the stock market (informing him of the value of his investments). He became so accustomed to the Times that he once would jokingly call it “meat drink & air.”43

In 1846, he had created the sandwalk, a 1.5-acre strip of land that he planted with trees and circled with a sandy path. This became his favorite walking place, although he would also sometimes walk on some of Down's many other foot-paths. He walked with members of his family, friends, or by himself. When alone he would sometimes stop and observe plants or animals, or he would become preoccupied with thoughts on a variety of subjects that were unrelated to his surroundings. Walking stimulated him to think, and the sandwalk has been called his “thinking path.” He walked in the morning, at noon, and at four in the afternoon. At noon he walked around exactly five times to complete a mile.

These walks also became a daily ritual of exercising and thinking that he forced himself to do even when the weather was bad or when he felt weak. Near the end of his life when he was unable to go to the sandwalk, he became deeply depressed.44

In the early evening, he would play two games of backgammon with Emma. If he won, he would jokingly proclaim how much his score had exceeded her score, and he would chaff Emma and tell her that she believed that backgammon was “all luck.”45 If he was losing, he would let himself go in loud complaints to her, exclaiming, “Bang your bones” and “Confound the women.”46 This humorous anger (he always had difficulty in expressing serious anger) may have cleared his mind and mentally refreshed him, for after backgammon he did some German scientific reading by himself—reading which he found especially onerous.47

After this reading he would listen to Emma play the piano. He complained that as he grew older, his appreciation of music had waned and that “music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure.”48 Yet as he listened to Emma play—as she played both he and she were silent49—he was affected by what he heard, and he once made a list of the compositions that he especially liked and the impression (p.40) each made upon him. (The list, which probably included compositions from Handel and Beethoven, has since been lost.)50

During most of his indoor leisure—when reading the Times or listening to Emma read or play the piano—he would recline on a sofa or bed, always lying flat on his back, and sometimes putting his hands under his head.51 Lying in this horizontal position eased his flatulence and was perhaps a carryover from the days when he treated his Beagle sea-sickness by “taking the horizontal for it.” However, in the evening when conversing with family or friends, he would sit “very erect” in a high chair made still higher by being placed on a footstool.52 He told visitors that this particular way of sitting was to “guard his weakness,” “to guard against … digestive trouble,” and “to keep off giddiness and nausea.” Why this way of sitting should so affect him is unknown.53

During his first six years at Down, he described himself as being in “a profoundly tranquil state,” and living “like clock work … in what most people would consider the dullest possible manner.” By this he meant that every day (including holidays and weekends), he followed the same routine of alternating periods of work and rest from work. This routine enabled him to do three hours of morning work on most days. He frequently experienced pain and fatigue, which he tried to assuage by taking various treatments.54

In these six years, his work was only seriously interrupted on one occasion because of a severe episode of boils. “I am suffering,” he told Hooker on 7 April 1847, “from four boils & swellings, one of which hardly allows me the use of my right arm & has stopped all my work & damped all my spirits.” After “several weeks,” the boils subsided and he was able to resume work.55 In 1847, he also suffered from boils that were less severe in February, July, and October. The causes of these boils are not known, and there is no record of how they were treated.56 He would continue to have boils for many years.


(1.) Correspondence, 2: 305.

(2.) Winslow 1971, 1–2.

(3.) Clark 1846, 2, 3–4.

(4.) Pike 1974, 297–98; Sheppard 1971, 16.

(5.) Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 32, 36.

(6.) E. Darwin 1796, 2: 674; 1798, 98.

(7.) Autobiography, 114; Topham 1997, 50–54.

(8.) Correspondence, 2: 324; Topham 1997, 50–54; Browne 1995, 442.

(9.) Correspondence, 2: 345.

(10.) Correspondence, 2: 435; Desmond and Moore 1991, 303.

(11.) Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 50.

(12.) Correspondence, 2: 435; Browne 1995, 443.

(13.) Correspondence, 2: 345.

(14.) Correspondence, 335.

(15.) Correspondence, 2: 360; Desmond and Moore 1991, 306–7; Browne 1995, 445.

(16.) Browne 1995, 445; Calvin 1998, 6; Correspondence, 3: 311.

(17.) Correspondence, 3: 2.

(18.) In 1858, he wrote this one line entry in his journal for June: “June 14th Pigeons: (interrupted).” His parenthetical “(interrupted)” communicated that, as he was working on the pigeon section of his big book on natural selection, he learned that Alfred Wallace had independently discovered his theory. Correspondence, 7: 503.

(19.) Correspondence, 3: 7, 25.

(20.) Correspondence, 3: 43, 395; Desmond and Moore 1991, 317. Darwin's paternal uncle, Charles Darwin, grandfather Erasmus Darwin, mother, and daughter Mary Eleanor had all died suddenly, and his physician father had frequently observed instances of sudden death. Between 1829 and 1832, he learned about the sudden deaths of the sister of his friend Fox, his Cambridge friend Marmaduke Ramsay (who had been planning to go with him to Teneriffe), his young Beagle friend Charles Musters, and his cousin Fanny Wedgwood. Emma had been Fanny's sister and intimate companion and believed she would be reunited with Fanny in a future life. Emma may have spoken about Fanny with her husband. Correspondence, 1: 83–84, 128–30, 231, 268–69; Bowlby 1990, 39–40, 56–57; Emma Darwin (1904), 1: 346–47.

(21.) Hensleigh Wedgwood (1803–91) was a barrister and philologist who had sometimes been Darwin's intellectual confidant.

(22.) Colp 1986, 17–19; Correspondence, 3: 44.

(23.) Browne 1995, 447; Correspondence, 3: xv.

(24.) Correspondence, 3: 47–57; Desmond and Moore 1991, 325.

(25.) Correspondence, 3: 254; Colp 1986, 20–22, 30–31.

(26.) Huxley 1918, 1: 29–30, 194–95. In May 1845, when Hooker was giving several public lectures, Darwin wrote him the following: “I shall be glad to hear how the lectures go on that you do not find them very terrific: the very thought of such a deed as lecturer to whole class, makes me feel awe-struck.” Correspondence, 3: 186.

(27.) Correspondence, 3: 166. That many of Darwin's friends considered him to be a hypochondriac may refer to a prevalent view that hypochondria (although understood to have a physical inheritable basis) reflected a weakness of moral fiber. “There was, after all, something self-pitying and at times self-serving about the hypochondriac's continual troubles.” Baur 1988, 27–28.

(28.) Correspondence, 3: 211.

(29.) Life and Letters, 1: 387.

(30.) Hooker 1899. During his Down visits, Hooker also observed Darwin's retchings. In February 1849, when he was climbing the Himalayan Mountains in India, he wrote to Darwin: “I never thought more of you than amongst the Snowy passes, where the rarified air affects me at rather low elevations; sometimes I go on retching for hours & what with headache & its concomitant sensations I doubt if I ever could reach 18000 ft. perhaps not 16000.” Correspondence, 4: 205.

(31.) Correspondence, 4: 49–50.

(32.) Correspondence, 3: 253.

(33.) Browne 1995, 470–71; Stott 2003, 83–86.

(34.) Correspondence, 4: 74–86.

(35.) Rudwick 1974, 97–185; Herbert 2005, 283–92.

(36.) Darwin persisted in believing in his marine theory until 1861. In that year, Thomas Francis Jamieson went to Glen Roy and wrote a paper presenting new evidence that the parallel roads had been formed by Ice Age lakes. He sent his paper to Darwin, who wrote him: “Your arguments seem to me conclusive. I give up the ghost. My paper is one long gigantic blunder. … How rash it is in science to argue because any case is not one thing, it must be some second thing which happens to be known to the writer.” Darwin then sent Jamieson's letter to Lyell, along with the following note: “I think the enclosed is worth your reading. I am smashed to atoms about Glen Roy. My paper was one long gigantic blunder from beginning to end.” Correspondence, 9: 255–57.

(37.) Life and Letters, 1: 288; Correspondence, 3: xiii, 84, 141, 287; 5: 198. A record of Darwin's 1844–48 attendance at meetings of the councils of the Geological Society is published in the chronology sections of Correspondence, vols. 3 and 4.

(38.) Correspondence, 4: 50–51, 53, 55; Desmond and Moore 1991, 347–49; Hooker 1899.

(39.) Correspondence, 3: 272–73, 274–75.

(40.) Correspondence, 4: 108–9, 111, 384; Geikie 1895, 130; Desmond and Moore 1991, 352. Darwin's illness and recovery is recorded in Emma's 1848 diary for 18–24 February.

(42.) “Reminiscences,” ms, 94; Autobiography, 138; “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 100, 102; Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 117–18.

(43.) “Reminiscences,” ms, 23; “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 100; Keith 1955, 23; Correspondence, 11: 167.

(44.) “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 90–91, 93–94, 100; Atkins 1974, 25–26; Keynes 2004, 15–21.

(45.) Darwin to Asa Gray, 29 January 1876, Gray Herbarium, Harvard University; “Reminiscences,” ms, 32.

(46.) Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 275; G. Darwin, “Recollections”; “Reminiscences,” ms, 32.

(47.) “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 103–4, 115.

(48.) Autobiography, 138.

(49.) Darwin 1929, 120.

(50.) “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 101.

(51.) “Reminiscences,” ms, 30, 37.

(52.) Brace 1894, 320; “Reminiscences,” L&L, 1: 89.

(53.) Brace 1894, 320; Higginson 1900, 284; Mrs. Jane Loring Gray, 1868. Darwin began sitting in a “Highchair … supported on a high stool” in the 1840s and kept this up for the rest of his life. Life and Letters, 1: 388.

(54.) Correspondence, 2: 409; 3: 338, 141. For an account of Darwin's treatments, see chapter 6.

(55.) Correspondence, 4: 29–30, 383.

(56.) Correspondence, 4: 15, 55, 56, 91–92.

(421.) Correspondence, 4: 53–54, 55–56, 58–60, 61, 74, 384.