To W. D. Fox 29 January 
Down Farnborough Kent
Jan. 29th —
My dear Fox
Your last account,1 some months ago, was so little satisfactory, that I have often been thinking of you, & should be really obliged if you would fly me a few lines, & tell me how your voice & chest are. I most sincerely hope that your report will be good; this wonderfully mild winter must be in your favour.
As for myself I really have no news: just lately my stomach has been a little extra ailing.2 All other members of the family are flourishing. My eldest Boy is now home from Rugby: he is a thoroughily steady, industrious & good boy; I fancy, (though perhaps it is fancy) that I see the contracting effects on his mind of his very steady attention to classics: formerly I think he had more extended interests, & cared more for the causes & reasons of things.3 Our second lad Georgie, has a strong mechanical turn: & we think of making him an engineer: I shall try & find out for him some less classical school,—perhaps Bruce Castle.4 I certainly shd like to see more diversity in Education, than there is any ordinary school: no exercise of the observing or reasoning faculties,—no general knowledge acquired,—I must think it a wretched system: on the other hand a Boy who has learnt to stick at Latin & conquer its difficulties, ought to be able to stick at any labour.— I shd always be glad to hear anything about schools or education from you.
I am at my old, never-ending subject, but trust I shall really go to press in a few months with my second volume on Cirripedes:5 I have been much pleased by finding some odd facts in my 1st vol. believed by Owen, & a few others, whose good opinion I regard as final.—6 I have this morning been dissecting a most abnormal cirripede, which after a good meal has to vomit forth the residuum, for there is no other exit!7
I heard yesterday from Dr Hooker, who married Henslow’s eldest daughter, of the birth of a son8 under Chloroform, at Hitcham.
I wonder when we shall see you here again: it wd give Emma & myself no common pleasure. Do write pretty soon & tell me all you can about yourself—& family & I trust your Report of yourself may be much better than your last.
Catherine & Susan are at present staying with Erasmus in London, & perhaps I shall go up & see them next week.9 I have been very little in London of late, & have not seen Lyell since his return from America: how lucky he was to exhume with his own hand parts of 3 skeletons of Reptiles out of the Carboniferous strata, & out of the inside of a fossil tree, which had been hollow within!10
Farewell | My dear Fox | Your’s affectionately | Charles Darwin
Discusses education of his sons. Would like to see more diversity.
He is pleased that Richard Owen and others had a good opinion of his first volume [on Living Cirripedia].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1499,” accessed on 9 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1499