From William Darwin Fox 1 February 1
Delamere Rectory | Northwich | Cheshire
My dear Darwin
I have so long kept my resolution of not writing to you,2 knowing how your time is taken up, and how small your powers are—that I have now determined to reward my goodness by sending off a few lines, hoping that you will some day find time and strength to rejoice my eyes with your handwriting again, and that you will tell me as much as possible about yourself—Mrs Darwin & your family.
I cannot help hoping that I shall hear riding has done much for you.3 If it suits you, it will be every thing to you. You get air and exercise without fatigue and must perforce, give that big brain of yours some rest.
How strange it seems that you and I are left alive, and poor Susan & Catherine taken away.4 They seemed so healthy and strong, and we such runtlings in comparison.
I had such a nice cheerful letter from Susan only a few months before her sad sufferings came on that I quite hoped to have again seen her cheery face.5
What is become of the old house at Shrewsbury. What heaps of genuine kindness have I met within its walls.6 I often look back to the days of joy & sorrow I passed there.
How is Caroline, and where? I should so much like to see her and her girls.7
I have looked anxiously for your Book on domestic animals. Is it coming out this Spring? How gets on the great Book.8 Facts from your numerous correspondents in the World, must keep accumulating so much that it must seem almost to go back instead of forward.
I did fear you would never live to complete it, but I cannot help hoping now that you may live to a good old age, and become strong again.
We have just broken up our Christmas Party—& dispersed 4 of our children—to Oxford—Kings College—& London—while the rest are sitting down to their routine habits—and I to mine of teaching my 4th Boy Latin &c preparatory for school.9
Except myself we have wintered well, & the Boys have had plenty of skating. I have not had a good winter—my lungs having kept me a prisoner almost altogether. I hope however I shall now be able to get out & take air & exercise, both of which I much want. And now I will release you from reading this sad tract. Do let me have a few lines from you soon.
I hope Mrs Darwin and your children are all well. I have a very pleasing recollection of the face of your eldest Girl, whom I saw in London at Erasmus’s.10
With our kindest regards to Mrs Darwin Believe me very dear Dn | Ever yours affectly & truly W D Fox
P.S. I have no less than 3 Free Martins here who have children—1 man 2 women, but one of the latter I find from her New Man had a near escape of being barren. She has however a fine Son.11
Wants to know whether Variation is published and how the other book [CD’s proposed volume on variation in nature] is going.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5388,” accessed on 25 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5388