Has heard “sad tales” about CD’s forthcoming book [Descent]; does not think even CD can persuade him his ancestors were apes.
Broadlands | Sandown | I. Wight
My dear Darwin
The sight of your hand writing did me much good. It would havegreatly rejoiced me to have been able to run down to Down for a day,as Mrs Darwin kindly asked me to do, but I am obliged to becareful at this time of year, for fear of being laid up, and I feltI ought not to delay getting to Winter Quarters.f2 As you ask me howI am, I am glad to say much better than I have been for some months,& quite hope to be able to get about thro the winter. I was very illa few months ago, and hardly thought I should get over it.
I get very stiff and old in my feelings of body, and childish in mymind I think.I do not think I was ever more young in mind— in fact I havea very enjoyable existence, & I know few I wd exchange with. There now.
I wish you could give yourself a little rest, but I know you cannot.In cælo quies, in terra nulla.f3 I hear sad tales about your Book aboutto come forth.f4 I suppose you are about to prove man is a descendantfrom Monkeys &c &c Well, Well!— I shall much enjoy reading it.I have given up that point now. The three main points of differenceto my mind—were that Men drink, smoke & thrash their wives—&Beasts do not.
But alas my faith is overthrown entirely. The Lady Monkey from theAndamans—drinks & smokes like a Christian; & evidently the Gentlemanwd thrash, if not kill the Lady, if he had an opportunity.f5
I always look at Books as I do Newspapers. I am not bound totye my mind to that of the writer. There are points in your unrivaledBook “The Origin of Species”—which I do not come up to—but with these few expressions omitted, I go with it completely. I donot think even you will persuade me that my ancestors ever were Apes—but we shall see.
I have no religious scruples about any of these matters. I seemy own way clearly thro them— —but I see many points I cannot get over,which prevent my going “the whole Hog” with you.
In a few years—if not sooner—we shall know a great dealmore than we do now.— We are sadly cribbed here, and ones mind feelsthe impossibility of grasping what one longs to do. Well, well!(as a friend of mine always says in a difficulty) let us do ourbest, & hope for better things. I must run over & see you some day.Why not you & Mrs Darwin run over here, when you have finishedyour Book— you can study my little Apes & Apesses—
Kindest regards to Mrs Darwin & thanks for her note—
Always yours Affecly | W D Fox