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.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5392,” accessed on 6 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5392