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Letter 42

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

12 [June 1828]

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    Account of insects he has collected, with figures drawn by sister.


Friday 12th2

My dear Fox

I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects:—my only reason for writing, is to remove a heavy weight from my mind, so now you must understand, what you will perceive before you come to the end of this; that I am writing merely for my own pleasure & not your's.— I have been very idle since I left Cambridge in every possible way & amongst the rest in Entomology. I have however captured a few insects, about which I am much interested: My sister has made rough drawings of three of them: I. fig: is I am nearly sure, the same insect as H<oa>r, of Queens took in a Willow tree, & which Garland did not know. I took [it] under the bark of a rail, was very active, striking looking insect, took 3 specimens   I think this is an admirable prize

II. fig: is an extremely common insect; of the family of scarabidæ. Do you know it's name?—

III. fig: A most beautiful Leptura (?) very like the Quadrifasciata, only the body is of the same size thoughout.— I tell you all these particulars, as I am anxious to know something about these little g< >s.— I was not fully aware of your extreme value before I left Cambridge. I am constantly saying ``I do wish Fox was here''.— And I again say, I hope you will come & pay me visit before the summer is over— My Father desired me to say, that he should be at anytime most happy to see you.—

I have taken 3 species of Coccinellæ, one, the same as Hoar took in the Fens, which you said was rare, & another with 7 white! marks on each elytron.— I will mention, as I believe you are interested about it, that I have seen the Cocc: bipunctata (or dispar) 4 or 5 in actu coitus with a black one with 4 red marks (I believe most of the black ones you have got have < > marks, & hence I suppose a different species) also, which is very singular, I have frequently seen two of the bipunctata's in actu.— I Have taken Clivina Collaris, fig <3> Plate III of Stephens; also a beautiful copper-coloured Elater (with

[DIAGRAM HERE] Antennæ pectin<ate>

like this. Do you want any of the

Byrrhus Pillula? I can get any number.—

My dear Fox I must again beg your pardon for sending such a very selfish stupid letter: but remember I am your pupil, so you must forgive me.— I hope you will write to me soon, & tell me every thing you have been doing, & more particularly how you are in health, as to your eyes, & body.— How was poor little Fan: how was No 16!? what do you intend doing this summer? in short write me a good long letter about yourself & all other insects: My plans remain the same as formerly. I am going to Barmouth for two months.— If you have not written to my brother, write to him before the 22d. & direct, Poste Restante, Munich I hope you will be able to send me a better account of Miss Fox, when you write; tell me whether you intend going to Tenby?

I should not send this very shamefully stupid letter, only I am very anxious to get some crumbs of information about yourself & the insects.

Believe me my dear Fox | Yours most sincerely | Charles Darwin *S 2


of a fine bluish black rather lighter coloured this is a very good colour, but is not so & more metallic the representation broad as made in this legs are left out.— drawing [DIAGRAM HERE]

I. fig is more like a Pyrochroa or a very narrow Blaps than any thing I can compare it to.—

I.I. fig: be sure to give me the name of this insect

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 42.f1
    CD's second cousin and his `entomological tutor' during CD's first year at Cambridge. Fox's mother, Ann, was the daughter of Dr Erasmus Darwin's brother, William Alvey Darwin.
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    f2 42.f2
    Friday was the 13th.
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    f3 42.f3
    The middle letters of the name are obliterated by a blot. It is likely that CD wrote `Hoar' (see below in letter), but he probably refers to William Strong Hore, who was an undergraduate at Queens' College 1826--30. Letters to W. D. Fox, [7 January 1829] and [25--9 January 1829] give support to this possibility. In both, CD asks to be remembered to `Hore'.
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    f4 42.f4
    Possibly Lewes (or Lewis) Garland.
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    f5 42.f5
    Stephens 1827--46. Clivina collaris is listed in Mandibulata 1: 40, plate iii, fig. 3.
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    f6 42.f6
    On Cardigan Bay, Gwynedd, North Wales. CD spent the summer on a reading tour with some undergraduate friends and George Ash Butterton, of St John's College, a private tutor in mathematics (see LL 1: 166, which quotes a letter of reminiscences from John Maurice Herbert to Francis Darwin, now in DAR 112).
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