To W. D. Fox [19 August 1828]
My dear old Fox
How very unfortunate it was that our letters crossed on the road, more especially as mine contained such very severe remarks. I should indeed be most ungrateful, if after reading your letter, I did not repent of them. To give the devil his due, I must say you are, (excepting always punctuality) a perfect pattern for a correspondent. You answer so distinctly & satisfactorily all one’s question’s. You see I am already beginning to harp on Entomology.— But before that I must thank you for your most kind invitation to Osmaston1 for the Music Meeting. I shall be extremely happy to come, my only difficulty at present is how to get there as on the 7th I shall be in remote part of Staffordshire. Talking of that, upon my soul it is only about a fortnight to the first. And then if there is bliss on earth that is it.—2
I suppose the Music Meeting will be very glorious as this will be my first, but I must say I expect much greater pleasure in seeing you, & all your beasts, & last, but not least all the insects.— I suppose I had better bring my gun as I hope we shall have one or two shots together.—
Looking over some insects the other day I found one of my quondam-Nebris, & eheu eheu I believe it turns out to be a (Nosodendrum of Lam:) as what I thought were the Palpi, I now believe to be very short thick Antennæ. Your description however agrees pretty well.— I have taken both varieties of the Pine destroyer.— Since I wrote, have taken a dirty-purple coloured Cicindela, with squarish white markings, is it Sylvatica? Also, a most splendid Elater not Buprestis, by Marsham3 I make it out clearly to be the Cyaneus, but he gives no references, from which I infer it v〈ery r〉are. Elytra & thorax metallic purple blu〈e,〉 abdomen greenish blue, legs yellow, taken at a great altitude.—
I hope, if you can, that you will answer this letter directly, as on the 27th. I leave for Shrewsbury, direct Post Office Barmouth: Look over my former letters, & answer my Entomolo: questions. It is quite absurd how interested I am getting about the science.— The great black Carabus, considerably bigger than Violaceus which I mentioned in former letter was taken at great altitude.—
I am going to mention a few insects, which are very doubtful.— 2 most beautiful insects, Cryptocephalus sericeus, & Lebia Cyanocephalus, a Cara- bidæ.— allso, a Bembidion, (Littorale). 3 sorts of dung beettles like the Vaccæ.— a beautiful, square built Donacia, &c &c &c &c. I mean to take all my insects to Cambridge, & then you will see all these wonders.—
Give me some instructions about keeping Crysalises, as I possess some of ditto.— I have got so much to say & so much to see at Osmaston that it will be God’s Mercy if I go away alive. nevertheless I much hope for the experiment to be tried A part of your letter has given me a Panic, you say you do not know when you shall return to Cambridge I most sincerely hope it only means at what time in October I should be quite lost without my good old Entomological Tutor.—
I have been abusing you for unpunctuality when I forget you might apply the argumentum ad hominem. The reason I delayed answering is that I have been on an expedition for a few days. For you must know that I am become a “Brother of the Angle” under the superintendence of Mr Slaney4 (MP. for our town of Shrewsbury), who pronounces me a very flourishing Pupil.—
Do write soon, & believe me, dear Fox | Yours most sincerely | Chas Darwin
I need not tell you to mention to your Father how very much obliged I am for his kind invitation, & how happy I shall be to accept it.—
Perhaps you had better direct to Shrewsbury as there is hardly time to receive a letter before the 27th.
Accepts invitation to a Music Meeting at Osmaston, Derbyshire.
Entomological news and queries.
Has taken up angling.