CD writes with much sympathy for WDF, whose sister [Mrs Bristowe] is alarmingly ill.
My dear Fox
I received your letter yesterday morning, & it was with the most sincere grief I read its contents: I am well aware how illtimed all consolation must at present appear. But yet knowing how very unhappy you must be at your sisters most alarming illness; I cannot help troubling you with these few lines, if it were merely to thank you for writing to me: I should indeed be sorry, if anybody, for whom I have such a strong friendship & respect as I must always feel, my dear Fox, for you, should be suffering under the most poignant grief, & I not aware of it.—
I most fervently hope, by the time this letter reaches Clifton, that your sister will be better. When you have a spare moment do write to me & tell me how she is going on.—
I wrote to you at Bath only the day before I received your last letter, but little did I think, when I wrote it, that it would find you in such a melancholy situation
Believe me my dear Fox | Yours most affectionately | Charles Darwin *S 2