To W. D. Fox 6 February 
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Fox
It is always a pleasure to me to hear from you, & old & very happy days are thus recalled.1 This is rather a joyful day to me, as I have just sent off the M.S for two huge volumes (I grieve the Book is so big) to Printers on Domestic Animals &c &c but my book will not appear, even if completed, before next November, as Murray has strong prejudice against publishing except during Spring & Autumn.2 I am utterly in darkness about merit of my present book; all that I know is that it has been a most laborious undertaking. Of course a copy will be sent to you.—
It is true indeed that Death has been busy with us, & it is astonishing to me that I shd. have survived my two poor dear sisters.3 The old House at Shrewsbury is on sale, but has as yet found no purchaser, & I daresay will not soon.— All the furniture was sold by Auction, having been bequeathed to the Parkers, who had become like Susan’s children.4
Caroline & Erasmus are fairly well for them; but this is not saying much for them, especially for the latter, who does not often leave the House.5 I am so sorry to hear so poor an account of yourself; with your active habits being confined must be a terrible deprivation. You are quite right about riding; it does suit me admirably, & I am very much stronger; yet I never pass 12 hours without much energetic discomfort.6 But I am fairly well content, now that I am no longer quite idle.— Poor Bence Jones has been for months at death’s door, & was quite given up; but has rallied in surprising manner from inflammation of Lungs & heart-disease.7 My wife is fairly well but suffers much from repeated headachs,8 & the rest of us are well.— I hope you will get all right with returning Spring.
My dear old friend | Believe me; | Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin
Has just sent MS of Variation off to printer. Is in darkness about its merits.
News of family and their health. Riding seems to help him.