The responses to his queries on domestic variations are coming in from all over; believes he will make an interesting collection. At present concerned with rabbits and ducks.
Has told Lyell of his views on species and CL urges CD to publish a preliminary essay. Has begun to work on it, with fear and trembling at its inadequacies.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Fox
I wrote just to say the splendid Cock had arrived, & now I have got your letter. I am most sincerely sorry, my dear old friend, at all the great suffering you have undergone. I have always understood that Lumbago & sciatica cause extreme pain.— How much illness you have had in your life, & at different times how much misery! It is lucky, when young, that one does not foresee the future. I do hope that the waters are so nasty that they will do you good.— We are all well here, except my poor dear wife who is wretched (perhaps in Family way) & has been wretched for weeks; & I fear that it will stop Tenby.
I have been working of late very hard & have now an enormous
correspondence.— I think I shall make an interesting collection of domestic
Vars. for promises are coming in from all quarters. This
morning I heard from Rajah Brooke with promises of energetic assistance. and Hon
At this present moment I am most interested about domestic Rabbits; having just sent an
Angora to be skeletonised, & having compared a P. Santo, common,
& Hare Rabbit skeletons & found, I believe, most remarkable
differences.— Ducks too are my delight: pray do
not forget a Call Drake or Duck, if you
Sir C. Lyell was staying here lately, & I told him somewhat of my views on species, & he was sufficiently struck to suggest, (& has since written so strongly to urge me) to me to publish a sort of Preliminary Essay. This I have begun to do, but my work will be horridly imperfect & with many mistakes, so that I groan & tremble when I think of it. By the way I want just to put, as an illustration of singular corelations in organisation. That “I have been assured by the Rev. W. D. Fox that he has never seen or heard of a blueish-grey Cat which was not deaf.” May I quote you? or must I put in “friend”
Do you still believe in the generality of fact? Might I say that you have seen or heard
of as many as 6.? But please mind, do not answer this
note, if it pains or troubles you.— I do most truly regret that you were not
able to pay us a visit; I sh
My dear old friend | Yours most truly | Ch. Darwin
I have sent you a very long note all about myself.— And now to write to Borneo & the Cape of Good Hope!
- f1 1895.f1CD's letter to W. D. Fox, 4 June , was forwarded to Fox at Harrogate, where he had gone to take the waters, by his wife Ellen Sophia. The cock had been sent from Fox's rectory at Delamere, but Fox's letter was presumably sent from Harrogate. CD addressed this letter to the ‘Old Parsonage | High Harrogate’.
- f2 1895.f2In a letter written on the back of CD's letter of 4 June  (see n. 1, above), Ellen Sophia Fox mentioned Fox ‘drinking the odious waters’ at Harrogate.
- f3 1895.f3Emma Darwin was expecting their tenth child, born December 1856. CD and Emma did not go to Tenby in July as planned, judging from an entry of 29 July in Emma's diary: ‘Willy came home from Tenby’.
- f4 1895.f4CD had sent out a letter to correspondents in different parts of the world requesting information on variation in various kinds of domestic animals (see Correspondence vol. 5, CD memorandum, [December 1855]).
- f5 1895.f5James Brooke, raja of Saráwak, Borneo, sent CD specimens of pigeons and ducks (Variation 1: 132 n. 1, 280).
- f6 1895.f6Charles Augustus Murray was envoy and minister plenipotentiary to the court of Persia. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 29 November .
- f7 1895.f7Perhaps from S. Erhardt, who provided CD with information on domestic animals in East Africa (see Variation 1: 25, 246 n.).
- f8 1895.f8CD included an analysis of the osteological characters of rabbits in Variation 1: 115–24.
- f9 1895.f9These breeds are discussed in Variation 1: 276–7.
- f10 1895.f10Charles Lyell and his wife had visited Down from 13 to 16 April 1856. See letter from Charles Lyell, 1–2 May 1856, and letter to Charles Lyell, 3 May .
- f11 1895.f11The manuscript of the first two chapters of CD's species book, composed in 1856 and dealing with ‘Variation under domestication’, is not extant. CD later used much of the material, and perhaps the manuscript itself, in compiling Variation. In Variation 2: 329, after making the statement that ‘white cats, if they have blue eyes, are almost always deaf’, he wrote: ‘The Rev. W. Darwin Fox informs me that he has seen more than a dozen instances of this correlation in English, Persian, and Danish cats; but he adds “that, if one eye, as I have several times observed, be not blue, the cat hears. On the other hand, I have never seen a white cat with eyes of the common colour that was deaf.”’ The information also appears in Origin, p. 12, but without attribution.
- f12 1895.f12A reference to James Brooke and Edgar Leopold Layard. The letter to Brooke has not been found, but see the letter to Edgar Leopold Layard, 8 June .