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Letter 60

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

1 Apr [1829]

    Summary Add

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    Eager to hear how WDF and his family get on.

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    Entomology goes poorly. Harbour has given C. C. Babington first pick of the beetles, and CD has stopped buying from him.

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    Fire at Linton.


Xst. College [Cambridge]

April 1st.

My dear Fox

In your letter to Holden you are pleased to observe, ``that of all the blackguards you ever met with I am the greatest'': Upon this observation I shall make no remark, excepting that I must give you all due credit for acting on it most rigidly: And now I should like know, in what one particular are you less of Blackguard than I am? You idle old wretch why have you not answered my last letter which I am sure I forwarded to Clifton nearly 3 weeks ago? If I was not really very anxious to hear what you are doing: I should have allowed you to remain till you thought it worth while to treat me like a gentleman.—

And now having vented my spleen in scolding you, & having told you, what you must know, how very much & how anxiously I want to hear how you & your family are getting on at Clifton, the purport of this letter is finished. If you did but know how often I think of you & how often I regret your absence, I am sure I should have heard from you long enough ago: I find Cambridge rather stupid, & as I know scarcely any one that walks, & this joined with my lips not being quite so well, has reduced me to sort of Hybernation, which almost equals ``poor little Whitmores'' melancholy case.— Old Whitley has begun to take your place, & we have just commenced a regular series of constitutionals.—

Entomology goes on but poorly: a few Dromius & Agonum's, together with the Pæcilus (with red thighs) make the g<reat> part of what I have collected this ter<m>. I have caught Mr. Harbour letting Babington have the first pick of the beettles; accordingly we have made our final adieus, my part in the affecting scene consisted in telling him he was a d——d rascal, & signifying I should kick him down the stairs if ever he appeared in my rooms again: it seemed altogether mightily to surprise the young gentleman.—

I have no news to tell you, indeed, when a correspondence has been broken off like ours has been, it is difficult to make the first start again.— Last night there was a terrible fire at Linton eleven miles from Cambridge; seeing the reflection so plainly in sky, Hall, Woodyeare Turner & myself thought we would ride & see it we set out at 1/2 after 9, & rode like incarnate devils there, & did not return till 2 in the morning. altogether it was a most awful sight.—

I cannot conclude, without telling you, ``that of all the blackguards I ever met with, you are ye greatest & the best | C Darwin.—

1 o'clock—going on very well

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 60.f1
    Ainslie Henry Whitmore. The reference may be to his having been `rusticated'.
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    f2 60.f2
    Charles Cardale Babington.
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    f3 60.f3
    Jeffry Brock Hall.
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    f4 60.f4
    John Fountain Woodyeare.
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    f5 60.f5
    James Farley Turner.
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