To W. D. Fox 18 May 
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Fox
It was very kind of you to take so much trouble about the curious dog; but unless one is on the spot it is hopelessly difficult to understand the amount & origin of difference. The dog, however, must be a most curious creature.— I am glad to hear of a naturalist taking up so difficult & neglected a subject as spiders.—
If I have time & if in London moderately soon, I will look at the deer-Hybrid— But the fact is, if it appeared ever so intermediate I shd. not believe in its hybrid nature, unless after careful dissection of its internal organs; & one might easily be deceived by hoofs being filed &c &c.1
You will be sorry to hear that our eldest girl, Etty, has now been 3 weeks ill with odd fever, partly remittent partly typhoid;2 but I have great hopes we see signs of abatement. It has harassed us much, though not exactly frightened us. At one time, however, the Doctors seemed rather anxious.— But I think it must end soon.— What a household you must have had with seven with Hooping Cough!
My health has been better of late, which I am inclined to attribute to mineral acids, no sugar, & drinking wine.—3
I do not know whether you ever see various Reviews, but the attacks have been falling thick & heavy on my now case-hardened hide.— Sedgwick & Clarke opened regular battery on me lately at Cambridge Phil. Socy. & dear old Henslow defended me in grand style, saying that my investigations were perfectly legitimate.4 I have begun my bigger Book, but make very very slow progress.—
My dear old friend, | Yours affect | C. Darwin
Attacks [on Origin] are "hot and heavy". Adam Sedgwick and William Clark at Cambridge Philosophical Society opened a battery. J. S. Henslow defended in grand style.
Slow progress on bigger book.
- negative attitude/assessment
- positive attitude/assessment
- reception of Darwinism
- species, speciation
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2809,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2809