Has ordered a cabinet for his insects; hopes WDF will soon come to Cambridge to see his collection. Has exchanged specimens with Leonard Jenyns.
My dear old Fox
I observe that it has happened once or twice before, that at the same time that my guilty conscience has goaded me into writing, your stock of patience has been worn quite thread bare.— Owing to this exact proportion our letters unfor- tunately clashed on the road, & to show my real penitence I make this fresh start.—
I opened your letter with trepidation & awe, & as all good books say, that a forgiving spirit is the truest revenge, so I found it; for your very kind letter made me more ashamed of myself than any well deserved & severe speeches could have done.— I wish it had so happened that I had gone to Shrew: this Vacation, if it had merely been to have paid you a visit, for idle as I am, I would not have let you come all the way to Birmingham merely to see me, (always with the supposition that there was no, ``metal more attractive'' to be found in that metalliferous district) I hope you had a pleasant visit at the Larches. You do not say much about it. I hope you will mention in what sort of state you brought your heart back again to Osmaston? in a sad raggy condition I am afraid.—
I forget whether I mentioned that I have ordered a Cabinet. I long to begin about arranging & naming my insects; amongst the Carabidæ, I think I have a third in number.— I have lately taken Demetrias: imperialis!!! & Endomychus coccineus.— What do you mean by saying Miller has sent you Saperda Carcharias; why you have already got that, it is the insect you bought of Finch, large & mottled with brown.—
There is a much better entom: than Miller in Bristol, of the name of Millard, but I
hear very stingy.— N.B. M
My Father has been for some time quite well, but has since had a little gout.— I thought I had mentioned, that both the Deaths Heads died in the Summer.—
I rode over the other day to pay M
The men are all in a dreadful plight, from fear & anxiety, but nevertheless
Cam: is remarkably pleasant, & if you were here, to have our old breakfasts
together it would be delightful.— I never saw Whitmore in such good spirits as
he is at present: he goes walking about quite independently, & drinks brandy to
It is quite curious, when thrown into contact with any set of men, how much they continue improving in ones good opinion, as one gets ackquainted with them. This was an argument used, in a religious point of view, by a very clever Clergyman in Shrews. to encourage sociability (he himself being very fond of society), for he said that the good always preponderates over the bad in every persons character, & he thought, the most social men were generally the most benevolent, & had the best opinion of human nature. I have heard my father mention this as a remarkably good observation, & I quite agree with him.—
Chapman & many other men often ask after you:
My dear Fox | Yours sincerely | C. D
- f1 76.f1Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3. 2. 116 (Arden edition).
- f2 76.f2CD alludes to Fox's interest in Bessy Galton.
- f3 76.f3Probably William Curtis. See Curtis 1771 and 1772. Darwin Library--CUL contains Curtis's The Botanical Magazine or Flower-Garden Displayed, vols. 1 and 2 (in one volume), London, 1793.