Heaven grant that your health may keep good.

LETTER 28. TO J.S. HENSLOW. The Lodge, Malvern, May 6th, 1849.

Your kind note has been forwarded to me here. You will be surprised to hear that we all--children, servants, and all--have been here for nearly two months. All last autumn and winter my health grew worse and worse: incessant sickness, tremulous hands, and swimming head. I thought I was going the way of all flesh. Having heard of much success in some cases from the cold-water cure, I determined to give up all attempts to do anything and come here and put myself under Dr. Gully. It has answered to a considerable extent: my sickness much checked and considerable strength gained. Dr. G., moreover (and I hear he rarely speaks confidently), tells me he has little doubt but that he can cure me in the course of time--time, however, it will take. I have experienced enough to feel sure that the cold-water cure is a great and powerful agent and upsetter of all constitutional habits. Talking of habits, the cruel wretch has made me leave off snuff--that chief solace of life. We thank you most sincerely for your prompt and early invitation to Hitcham for the British Association for 1850 (28/1. The invitation was probably not for 1850, but for 1851, when the Association met at Ipswich.): if I am made well and strong, most gladly will I accept it; but as I have been hitherto, a drive every day of half a dozen miles would be more than I could stand with attending any of the sections. I intend going to Birmingham (28/2. The Association met at Birmingham in 1849.) if able; indeed, I am bound to attempt it, for I am honoured beyond all measure in being one of the Vice-Presidents. I am uncommonly glad you will be there; I fear, however, we shall not have any such charming trips as Nuneham and Dropmore. (28/3. In a letter to Hooker (October 12th, 1849) Darwin speaks of "that heavenly day at Dropmore." ("Life and Letters," I., page 379.)) We shall stay here till at least June 1st, perhaps till July 1st; and I shall have to go on with the aqueous treatment at home for several more months. One most singular effect of the treatment is that it induces in most people, and eminently in my case, the most complete stagnation of mind. I have ceased to think even of barnacles! I heard some time since from Hooker...How capitally he seems to have succeeded in all his enterprises! You must be very busy now. I happened to be thinking the other day over the Gamlingay trip to the Lilies of the Valley (28/4. The Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is recorded from Gamlingay by Professor Babington in his "Flora of Cambridgeshire," page 234. (London, 1860.)): ah, those were delightful days when one had no such organ as a stomach, only a mouth and the masticating appurtenances. I am very much surprised at what you say, that men are beginning to work in earnest [at] Botany. What a loss it will be for Natural History that you have ceased to reside all the year in Cambridge!

LETTER 29. TO J.F. ROYLE. Down, September 1st [184-?].

I return you with very many thanks your valuable work. I am sure I have not lost any slip or disarranged the loose numbers. I have been interested by looking through the volumes, though I have not found quite so much as I had thought possible about the varieties of the Indian domestic animals and plants, and the attempts at introduction have been too recent for the effects (if any) of climate to have been developed. I have, however, been astonished and delighted at the evidence of the energetic attempts to do good by such numbers of people, and most of them evidently not personally interested in the result. Long may our rule flourish in India. I declare all the labour shown in these transactions is enough by itself to make one proud of one's countrymen...


(30/1. The first paragraph of this letter is published in the "Life and Letters," I., page 372, as part of a series of letters to Strickland, beginning at page 365, where a biographical note by Professor Newton is also given.

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