Letter icon
Letter 2533

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

[16 Nov 1859]

    Summary Add

  • +

    News of his health and the water-cure establishment.

  • +

    [Origin] "my weariful book on Species" has been sent to WDF, who will not agree with it. Hooker is a convert, and Lyell is "staggered".


Wells Terrace | Ilkley, Otley | Yorkshire


My dear Fox.

I daresay you would like to hear about me, & I want to hear about you. Did you go to Malvern, & how is the place in your head?— I doubt whether Dr Smith would have suited you: they all say he is very careful in bad illness; but he constantly gives me impression, as if he cared very much for the Fee & very little for the patient.— I like the place very much, & the children have enjoyed it much & it has done my wife good; it did Etty good at first, but she has gone back again.— I have had a series of calamities; first a sprained ancle, & then badly swollen whole leg & face; much rash & a frightful sucession of Boils—4 or 5 at once. I have felt quite ill—& have little faith in this “unique crisis” as the Doctor calls it, doing me much good. I cannot now walk a step from bad boil on knee. We have been here above 6 week, & I feel worse than when I came; so that I am not in cheerful frame of mind.

So poor old Sir Francis is gone: I never saw him but once, on our to me memorable & pleasant visit to Sydnope. The Cromptons are here, & they know well all of you, & are, as they say, connected with you.— Poor Mr Crompton who has just lost his wife, is here, & the old Lady who seems very nice: I have not seen the invalid daughter. I find that Mr Rhoades Darwin lives about 10 miles off, near Arthington Stn at a very nice place— I shd like to call there, but shall not have strength or spirits. We shall stay about a fortnight longer here; & possibly though not probably I may stay a week or so still longer in Establishment; but it will depend on how I feel.—

You will probably have received, or will very soon receive my weariful book on Species. I naturally believe it mainly includes the truth, but you will not at all agree with me.— Dr Hooker, whom I consider one of best judges in Europe, is complete convert, & he thinks Lyell is likewise. Certainly, judging from Lyells letters to me on subject, he is deeply staggered.—

Farewell. If the spirit moves you let me have a line | Yours affectionately | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 2533.f1
    Edmund Smith was the proprietor of the Ilkley Wells hydropathic establishment.
  • +
    f2 2533.f2
    CD had suffered his ‘crisis’ at the end of October. See letters to Charles Lyell, 25 October [1859], and to J. D. Hooker, [27 October or 3 November 1859].
  • +
    f3 2533.f3
    Francis Sacheverel Darwin died on 6 November 1859 (Darwin pedigree). CD refers to the occasion when he and Fox visited F. S. Darwin at Sydnope Hall, Derbyshire. See letter to W. D. Fox, 31 January [1858], and Correspondence vol. 1, letter to W. D. Fox [1 April 1830].
  • +
    f4 2533.f4
    CD may be referring to John Gilbert Crompton of the Flower Lilies, Windley, Derbyshire. His wife, Millicent Ursula Crompton, had died on 4 October 1859 (Gentleman's Magazine n.s. 7, 2 (1859): 544).
  • +
    f5 2533.f5
    Francis Rhodes, who took the surname Darwin in 1850 under the terms of the will of his brother-in-law Robert Alvey Darwin, lived at Creskeld Hall, Poole, Yorkshire (Darwin pedigree). Arthington is a village east of Otley.
  • +
    f6 2533.f6
    Joseph Dalton Hooker and Charles Lyell.
Maximized view Print letter