To Robert Fitch 10 January 
Down Farnborough | Kent
My dear Sir
I write to thank you cordially for your very kind note & specimens. I have had just one look at them & they are incomparably the best specimens which I have as yet seen from any Secondary rock. But I grieve to say that one specimen has arrived broken; it is a large flat valve (scutum) or lower lateral valve. thank Heaven it is only one of the single valves, but a very fine one: it has come off the chalk & about one half is in very small fragments, which I hope to succeed in gumming together: a second has a piece of the chalk broken off, but the valve is not in the least injured. I have seldom been more vexed than on seeing this— I fear you will be always sorry that you sent them me.— I think they wd come back safer within a wooden box.— I can see by a glance that the specimen is a Scalpellum, allied to the S. (Xiphidium of Sowerby & Dixon) quadratum of the Bognor beds, but in some respects more allied to a recent new species which I have called S. rutilum.— I believe it is the Pollicipes maximus of J. Sowerby.—1
Should you object to my having your specimen drawn by Mr J. Sowerby, together with several others?— Will you kindly inform me?. I intend going to London on or about the 20th (but my plans are uncertain on account of my wifes expected Confinement)2 & wd take it up to London with me, if you grant your permission,—get them drawn, if possible, whilst I remain in London; bring them home & send them to you.—
I will not touch the chalk, & promise take every possible care of your specimens, which I look at as of extreme value; & I trust that there will be no accidents— I have had none as yet, except in the present unfortunate case, though I have had a great many recent & some fossil sent me.
I really cannot tell you how grieved & sorry I have been that your kindness shd thus have been ill rewarded—
Yours sincerely | obliged | C. Darwin
Thanks him for sending fossil cirripede specimens. Unfortunately one was broken in transit. Asks if James de Carle Sowerby may draw specimens.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1290,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1290