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Darwin Correspondence Project


To W. D. Fox   18 May [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

May 18th

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


See letter to W. D. Fox, 22 [March 1860].
Henrietta Emma Darwin had been diagnosed as having ‘a form of Typhus fever’ (letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 May [1860]).
For a description of CD’s new dietary regimen, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 22 [March 1860].
See letter from J. S. Henslow to J. D. Hooker, 10 May 1860.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Fox, W. D.
Sent from
Physical description


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.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2809,” accessed on 13 February 2016,