To W. D. Fox 27 [June 1858]
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Fox
I am extremely glad to hear the view you take of Dr Lane’s case.1 What extraordinary facts you tell me. The soul of some great physician has transmi-grated into you. I am profoundly sorry for Dr L. & all his family, to whom I am much attached.—2
We shall, indeed, be delighted to see you here if you can anyhow come.—
Your fact about Call-Ducks is first-rate for me, & I will quote it; as I particularly wanted such cases of influence of parent, independently of instinct.3
The Sow-case would have been valuable, had it been more recent, so that I cd have ascertained, that the same cheek was affected in young, & had known how many young pigs had same deficiency. I have generally been inclined to account for the several similar reported cases by coincidence & inaccuracy, or from disease of bone having been set up. As the sow was actually pregnant such case does utterly stagger me.—4
I had heard something of the Leicester sheep & am very glad to have more details: my doubt is, whether in all kinds of sheep black are not sometimes dropped.5
I thank you much for all the very kind trouble, which you have taken to get me information on all the above points; and about Horses. I have lately seen some splendid cases of barred legs; but I never can find out about colour of parents.— I hardly know what roan is.— I shall be very glad to hear about young Turkeys, if you succeed;6 but in 3 out of 4 of my experiments, something, which one had not calculated on, interferes with the result.—
I have lately been observing & experimentising with much care on the construction of Bees’ cells & have been testing the accuracy of Huber’s observation & on some points I do not think the blind man’s observations stand the test very well.—7 I think I have got theory, which greatly simplifies the marvellous power of construction of all the wondrous angles & perfect cell.—
You will be sorry to hear that we have had Etty most seriously ill with a modified form of that horrid new complaint, Diptheria; but all danger is over & she is slowly recovering.8 We have the Baby, also, very ill with fever, but the Doctor declares not dangerously; We have been much terrified as Scarlet Fever has been very bad. Our nurse, too, has sickened, so we have had much trouble, but I hope things are now clearing.—9
Yours affectionately | C. Darwin
Since this written our Baby has become suddenly most ill.— it is Scarlet Fever, & the Doctor can only say there is yet some hope.
Profoundly sorry for Lane.
Thanks WDF for facts about call ducks, pigs, and Leicester sheep.
Has been observing and experimenting on the construction of bees’ cells. Thinks he has a theory which simplifies the problem.
Scarlet fever in family; nurse ill.
- experiment, scientific observation
- information, data, scientific description
- nesting and other home-making or web-making behaviour
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2296,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2296