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before Annie died. Nor did her death drive him away from God. Although he believed in Christianity when he was young by the late 1830s that was no longer true. In his autobiography he wrote Disbelief crept over me 1836 to 1839 at a very slow rate but was at last complete. We know his views had changed before he got married because Emma was concerned about them and said so in a number of letters she wrote him while they were still engaged. In November 1838 she wrote My reason tells me that honest conscientious doubts cannot be a sin but I feel it would be a painful void between us. I thank you from my heart for your openness with me I should dread the feeling that you were concealing your opinions from the fear of giving me pain. Darwin had leveled with her and although she had reservations and hoped he might yet come to a different conclusion she could find no fault in his goalthe search for truth. It was their mutual respecthe for her religious beliefs she for his scientific worldviewthat kept them together until the end. A Life of Poor Health In July 1842 Darwin moved the family which then included William and Annie from London to Down House. It was a secluded spot just outside the small village of Downe Kent about fifteen miles southeast of London. He would spend the rest of his life there. Darwin rarely left Down House because of ill health. He may have contracted Chagas disease in South America. The idea his illness was psychological connected to his work does not hold up under close examination because his health problems began on the voyage long before he started theorizing about evolution. He didnt record an encounter with the Benchuca bug on his first inland trip from Valparaiso to Santiago in South America it was on his second excursion he recorded the attack outside Mendoza but he was certainly exposed to the bug both times. The range of the Benchuca extends throughout the entire region and at the end of the first excursion he barely made it back to Valparaiso before collapsing for a month. Although not all his symptoms match those of Chagas disease many do including chronic fatigue nausea and abdominal pain. The cures of the day didnt help. At different times Darwin was prescribed or tried arsenic opium quinine morphine and even batteries the height of quackery which Darwin knew full wellthough he tried it anyway in desperationwhereby he galvanized his insides with electricity. The only thing that appeared to help was hydrotherapy a regimen of cold water strict diet and walks. He first tried the water cure at Malvern under Dr. James Gully and later at Moor Park under Dr. Edward Lane. It was likely the bland food and exercise that did him the most good not the water cure per se. Whatever the cause of his illness the effect was debilitating he could only work a few hours a day. It is remarkable what he managed to accomplish under such circumstances he wrote seventeen books made major contributions to numerous others and wrote dozens of important papers in geology botany and zoology. Often overlooked is the fact that had he not published the Origin he would still have been one of the leading scientists of his day highly respected in several fields. 26