Letter icon
Letter 101

Darwin, C. R. to Fox, W. D.

[9 July 1831]

    Summary Add

  • +

    Poverty keeps him at Shrewsbury.

  • +

    The Canary scheme still goes, CD is studying Spanish and geology.

  • +

    Jenyns has started CD on Diptera.

Transcription

Shrewsbury

Saturday

My dear Fox

I arrived at this stupid place about three weeks ago, but have had no quiet time for writing till now.— I am staying here, on exactly the same principle, that a person chooses to remain in the Kings bench.— Talking of poverty puts me in mind to give you a scolding: in your answer to my letter containing the reasons I could not come to Epperstone, you say you do not wonder at my not choosing to to come to so stupid a place. now treating the thing logically, 1st you must have know what you call stupid, is just what I like, & 2nd you might have know, that if I could, I would most assuredly have come if it were merely for the pleasure of seeing you you have no excuse, & are (as we say in Spanish) un grandisimo bribon.—

I hope your prints arrived safe. I was in a perfect whirlwind of dust & confusion, when I sent them off, else I should have written with the box.— The Canary scheme goes on very prosperously. I am working like a tiger for it, at present Spanish & Geology, the former I find as intensely stupid, as the latter most interesting. I am trying to make a map of Shrops: but dont find it so easy as I expected.—

How goes on Entomology with you? you are in a capital situation, that is if Sherwood forest is at all like the New forest.— Hope & Eyton did wonders the<re> (I did not go propter pecuniam). Your imagination cannot fancy the number of red elater, melasis, Cerambycidous insects, without end.— I am just beginning Diptera.— L. Jenyns started me, what an excellent naturalist he is. I have seen a good deal of him lately, & the more I see the more I like him.— I feel just the same way towards another man, whom I used formerly to dislike, that is Ramsay of Jesus, who is the most likely person (I dont know whether I told you before) to be my companion to the Canaries.— How much do you know of the particulars of our plans?

Shall you be at Epperstone in the Autumn, & if you are, would be convenient, if I could manage to pay you a visit—answer this sincerely.— Cannot you pay me a visit at Shrewsbury, is it impossible?

This letter is all about myself. Do thou likewise, good Bye | dear old Fox. C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 101.f1
    A great rascal.
  • +
    f2 101.f2
    CD's `Journal' (see Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I), which he started to keep in 1838, has this retrospective entry for 1831: `In the Spring Henslow persuaded me to think of Geology & introduced me to Sedgwick.' John Maurice Rodwell, writing about CD and their Cambridge days together, remembered talking over Sedgwick's lectures and CD saying: `It strikes me that all our knowledge about the structure of our Earth is very much like what an old hen wd know of the hundred-acre field in a corner of which she is scratching'. Later, speaking of Sedgwick's speculation about the probable antiquity of the world, CD exclaimed, `What a capital hand is Sedgewick for drawing large cheques upon the Bank of Time!' (J. M. Rodwell to Francis Darwin, 8 July 1882, in DAR 112: 94v.).
  • +
    f3 101.f3
    Marmaduke Ramsay.
Maximized view Print letter