Littell's Living Age/Volume 156/Issue 2015/The Late Charles Darwin

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Under the domination of a many-sided, sensitive, and highly strung nervous system, the health of the late Charles Darwin was always delicate, and often seriously impaired. For many years he was a sufferer from catarrhal dyspepsia; later, he suffered from various irregular manifestations of a gouty constitution, such as eczema, vaso-motor nerve-storms, vertigo, and other disorders of sensation. Nevertheless, by means of great care in diet, exercise, and regularity of sleep, he managed to keep himself in sufficiently good order for almost continual work of the highest kind. He became subject to attacks of palpitation, with irregularity of the heart’s action, occasionally accompanied by pain in the chest, spreading to the arms. Later it was found that the heart and greater blood-vessels were degenerating. The anginal attacks became more frequent, and signs of, heart-failure more serious; and it was, as we understand, in one of these attacks that our greatest naturalist expired.