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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Wicksted to Georgina Tollet1   13 March [1870?]2

Shakenhurst, Bewdley.

March 13th.

My Dearest Georgina,

I have submitted Charles Darwin’s questions about Foxes to a jury of fox-hunters assembled here, on the occasion of the Ludlow Fox hounds having met here yesterday, & their experiences quite agree with mine— Neither I nor any of them can remember ever having seen a hound catch hold of a fox by the brush, or ever seen the common movement (of a dog (that puts his tail between his legs when frightened) performed by a fox either in a tame3

CD annotations

1.4 or ever … tame 1.6] scored blue crayon
1.6 either in a tame] ‘or wild state’ added pencil
Top of letter: ‘Mr Wickstead, kept Fox-Hounds for 20 years.—’ pencil

Footnotes

The correspondents are identified by CD’s annotation and by the address. Charles Wicksted, a noted fox-hunter and breeder of hounds, lived at Shakenhurst in Worcestershire, and was the brother of Georgina Tollet.
The year is conjectured on the assumption that the letter is a reply to a question CD submitted after reading an article on foxes in Land and Water, 6 November 1869 (see n. 3, below). Charles Wicksted died on 4 June 1870 (Burke’s landed gentry 1879).
CD’s questions have not been found. In Expression, p. 125, CD refers to an article in the 6 November 1869 issue of Land and Water that claimed that foxes, however tame, never exhibited expressive movements, such as tucking their tails, when frightened. CD stated of foxes: ‘I have been assured that when frightened they never tuck in their tails’ (Expression, p. 126).

Bibliography

Burke’s landed gentry: A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank but unvisited with heritable honours. Burke’s genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry. By John Burke et al. 1st–18th edition. London: Henry Colburn [and others]. 1833–1969.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Summary

Jury of fox-hunters report on hounds’ behaviour when catching fox. Fox never behaves like frightened dog.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-13857
From
Charles Wicksted
To
Georgina Tollet
Sent from
Strakenhurst, Bewdley
Source of text
DAR 181: 97
Physical description
†(by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13857,” accessed on 20 October 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-13857.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18

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